Ditches in The Desert

DITCHES IN THE DESERT -Karina's Thought

 

Today, my morning activity in the office begins with an interesting conversation with my secretary. I didn’t know why she suddenly asked about this thing, “Ma’am, do you really believe in what is written in Luke 1:37?” My mind directly drifted to that verse. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” A bit difficult to answer this question. I could answer, Yes! Of course I strongly believe that nothing is impossible for God” but it only will be a stumbling block if my attitude and deeds at a later time not in accordance with my word. Then I try to answer its question carefully. I said, “I always pray ask for strength and wisdom to keep learning to believe everything that God says. I always open my ears wide to listening every of His word then I put it in the deepest of my heart as something absolute should to believe.”

My secretary question made me ponder deeply. As Christians we all surely know that there is nothing impossible to God. But the problem is how far we truly believe it? Have we applied it in our daily lives? How far our obedience to obey doing what God commanded, even when we have to do something that seems doesn’t make sense? In our daily lives, we found a lot of people that easily discouraged when confronted by adversity, moreover if our logic says that it is impossible to be overcome. Even worse, if we don’t believe in what we do, although we know that it is in accordance with God’s guidance. In that circumstance, we often forget one of God’s characteristic that He has unlimited power. We become doubt because we feel it is impossible to find the way out of our difficulties. Actually, if we want to spend some time to learn and contemplate what God says in the Bible, we will find a lot of events and the real examples of how God did many miracles which by human logic is very impossible.

Right now I will take all of us to look at one of the bible passage to convince us that there is nothing impossible for God. Let’s have a look to the book of 2 Kings 3. When the Israelites joined together with the nation of Judah and Edom for war against The Moab, they went through the desert of Edom and they were facing a very difficult problem namely couldn’t get the water after walking for seven days. (2 Kings 3:9) Let’s imagine, for a week without water in the middle of very hot and barren desert. They will be thirsty, dehydration, and very weak. How could they fight? Slowly but sure their body’s condition will getting weak. Fortunately, King Jehoshaphat realizes that they need guidance from God.” But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” (2 Kings 3:11 NIV) It turns out, there is Elisha the son of Shaphat there. Then Elisha asked one harpist to play.  “But now bring me the harpist” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha (2 Kings 3:15 NIV) Elisha was filled with God’s Spirit through the praise and worship of the harpist. Then Elisha Said: “Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.” (2 Kings 3:16 NKJV)

Once again, I ask all of us to imagine one thing. Supposing at that time we were there with them, what is our reaction when we hear what Elisha said? We have been thirsty and weak because already a week without water and now God commanded to make ditches in the barren and waterless desert. For what we make ditches if no water at all? Do we will obediently to do what God commands? Maybe we will laugh and said, “God, Are you joking?” Yet, actually God was not joking and He never makes a joke. He said:

“You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands.” (2 Kings 3: 17-18 NIV)

That was so true that there is no wind, rain, and maybe even not cloudy. Although it sounds very strange and illogical, if God had promised, God definitely will keep His promises. If we read this passage till the end we know that finally what God commanded to them was not in vain. God proves His words. Not only an abundant water but God even gave them a victory against the Moab.

Through this story we see that God proves that nothing is impossible for Him. God can do anything beyond our limited logic and thinking ability. Something unreasonable for us is reasonable for God. Made ditches in the desert is something difficult to accept by the common sense, but God in real made impossibility became something very possible, because:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” (Isaiah 55:8 NIV)

If this story were not powerful enough to convince us that indeed nothing impossible for God, let’s look to another story. Let’s briefly have a look to the story of Gideon in Judge 6. When the Israelites were oppressed by the Amalekites and the Midianites, God sent His angel to meet Gideon and said that God chose Gideon to defeat the Amalekites and the Midianites. (Verse 11-12) What is the impossible thing that happened in this story? Let’s see a map of the power of the both parties. The Midianites and Amalekites have so many people. Was mentioned in the Judges 7:12: The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. While in the Gideon’s side, God said to Gideon: “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” (Judges 7:7 NIV) logically, it was a highly impossible thing. How it is possible with only three hundred people could defeat the Midianites that have uncountable number. Through this story once again we see that something is impossible for us, it is not impossible for God. With God’s inclusion and guidance Gideon and his people finally can defeats the Midianites.

When we face so many hard problems, we often try to find the way out by using logic and the ability of our own mind. And by the time we were deadlocked then our logic will say that this in an impossible thing to be resolved.  We forget that there is God who is in control of all our lives. Through the Bible we can see more proofs that God overturns human logic. We can see the power of God is far above of our logic. A young David against Goliath, Shamgar, or if we could ask to Noah, I do believe that Noah will tell us a lot of how the Lord overcoming what is regarded impossible by human logic.  Jesus Himself reminds us:

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV)

My beloved readers, whether right now we are in facing tribulations and we feel that all of it is impossible to be resolved?  Or we’re in doubt doing something that God commanded?  This evening, please allow me to encourage all of us to bring every of our severe problems and difficulties through prayer to God. Let Him help us to solve our problems by His own way. Please always remember and bear in our heart and mind that for with God nothing shall be impossible. Perhaps our logic and mind says impossible but neither to God. All that happened thousands of years ago will still be going on in our lives today. In my personal life, many times I had many hard problems and seem it is impossible to be resolved. But many times too God shows His marvelous way, far away beyond my logic and thought to solve my problems.  Everything that is not easy for us is an easy thing in the God’s eyes. If God commanded us to dig “ditches in the desert” we just need to obey to do what He commanded though it sounds impossible.

But I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. (Jeremiah 7:23 NIV)

The Israelites chose to obey to what God said and finally they got double blessings. God gave the water that they need and a victory against the Moab. Gideon also always obedient to did what God commanded and he can defeats the Midianites with only three hundred people.

We need make a step of faith to get God’s promises. God’s promises and blessings will not come instantly. We have to do our part first, and God will do His part.  The step of faith that has made by the Israelites is build ditches. Gideon had step of faith by decreasing the number of his people from thirty-thousands to only three hundred people. We should not just remain silent waiting God’s blessings. We have to act to do something with firm faith, walk deeper into the closer relationship with God, and always involve Him in all things in our lives.

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

(Matthew 17:20 NIV)

 We also have to believe. Distrust and doubt is often become a stumbling block and an obstacle for us to receive God’s Miracles. Please remember that our God is more than capable to doing unpredictable miraculous things. God be able to doing unthinkable and unreachable thing. Although it sound so odd, The Israelites completely believe that through the ditches that they make, God’s power will work. Gideon was truly believed that God will always be with him. We have to believe God will be able to help us through His amazing way. Everything is impossible will be possible if we believe.

“…Everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23 NIV)

My dear friends, if today we got the same question as my secretary question, what is our answer? Let’s confidently answer that question: “Yes! For with God nothing shall be impossible as long as want to completely obey, always walk in firm faith, and believe.” Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: chrislukic.com

Let’s Praise THE LORD!

 

LET'S PRAISE THE LORD -Karina's Thought

 

Yesterday my husband’s friend gave us a couple of “Straw-headed bulbul bird” These birds are species of the songbird. This morning, their beautiful chirp awakened me and made my morning more wonderful than before. The birds chirp merrily like a singer who joyfully welcomed a brightly new day. Through their melodious chirping I really felt God smile and greet His children who just wake up. I and my husband then took time for a moment to enjoy it and before take a morning prayer my husband asked me to sing a praise song “In Moment like This”.  Talk a bit about birds, how do the birds can sing? Scientifically can be explained as follows, Birds have an organ called “Syrinx”, a bony structure at the bottom of the trachea. Syrinx is made up of membrane that can vibrate when air passes over the syrinx. Because of this birds can chirp, singing, whistling, and even talking. What is the function of the birds chirping? Naturally, the birds sing to attract their mate and also to defend their territory. I was thinking, what kind of song they sung? Whether about love? Joy, or about thanksgiving and glory to God who already take care and provide protection as written in Matthew 10:29? However, no matter how, whatever the functions and the songs, for me it is remind me how magnificent God created this universe. God made this universe full of lovely songs. Moreover, it is one of the wonderful graces from God. God put the songs in the bird’s heart, make them chirping beautifully. A bird is God’s fingerprint creation. God made the birds become a greatest singer.

My dear friends, if God put the songs in the bird’s heart. God did the same thing to us as a human. Let’s take a look at the book of Psalm.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. (Psalm 40:3 NIV)

This verse is very clear said that God alone gives us inspiration; put the new song in our mouth to use for praise Him. As we love music/song, God also loves music. Music is one of the most beautiful God’s grace because I can’t even imagine how dreary and droughty this life without music. Furthermore, besides music can make our life more lives, we also can see that music has great power to bring people to know God, repented, and believe in Him. Until now I still could see that God touch someone amazingly through praise and worship songs.

There is so many God’s creation that we can enjoy; also there are so many His beautiful works that we can feel. So we ought to lift up our praise to God as our gratitude. The book of Psalm talk so much about the beauty of God’s creation and all His blessings, protection, and His love to us. And many times we are asked to sing to lift up our gratitude to God.

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. (Psalm 104:33 NIV)

We are also invited to praise all of the God’s miraculous works,

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. (Psalm 98:1 NIV)

Praise and worship to the Lord is the indispensable part of the Christians lives. Briefly, let’s look at the reasons why we should always praise and worship God.

  • We praise to God because we are created to praise Him. The people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. (Isaiah 43:21 NIV)
  • Commanded to always lift up praise. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:6 NIV)
  • We praise to God because the salvation that has given to us. That I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation. (Psalm 9:14 NIV).
  • We have to praise him for His eternal love. Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1 NIV)
  • We praise to God because God enthroned on our praise. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. (Psalm 22:3 NIV)
  • We praise for He worthy. “You are worthy, our Lord and God,to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11 NIV)
  • We need to always praise the Lord for there is power in praise. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters,their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them this is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 149:6-9 NIV)

Whether we should have beautiful voice so our praise worth, accepted, and please God? I remembered when I was held a Christmas celebration with the orphans last year. There was a teen girl singing a Christmas song titled “Because of Bethlehem”. She didn’t have a beautiful voice like a professional singer but she was able touching my heart and many others so deep.  Through her voice I can felt how wonderful and magnificent God’s love to us. My dear friends, if we refer to verse of Psalm 150:6, this verse didn’t say, “Let those who have beautiful and melodious voice praise the Lord” But the Psalmist said, Let everything that has breath!”  This means that God doesn’t look and assess how beautiful our voice. God is more seeing our sincerity in praising God. The Psalm 9:1a said: I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart” also our praise not only came out from our mouth but rather from our heart. Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19 NIV) When Paul and silas was in prison, they lifted up praise to the Lord. At the time, their condition was not ideal for singing and praising, even Paul might not an expert singer but He and Silas sang with all his heart, and surprisingly, the Lord came down on top of praises, and God pleased with their praise and He did great things. (Acts 16:25-27 NIV)

Moreover, beside we have to praise to God with all our heart, we have to praise God with all humility. Let God be exalted through our praise. God will not pleased if we praise God with pride because we feel has a beautiful voice. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”(Psalm 46:10 NIV)  Also, God will be pleased with our praise if we have very close relationship with God. We have to always realize that near to God alone we always find rest. Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 NIV)

My beloved readers, have we praise to God this morning? Have we when wake up in the morning we spend our time for a moment to lift up praise to God as our gratitude for His wonderful blessings and grace that always new every morning? Or even otherwise, our mouths just filled with complaints and grumbles about the problems we have to face? Today, allow me to encourage all of us before we start our daily activities let’s take a moment to harmonize our hearts and minds for a moment with a beautiful melody that God has placed in His creation. Feel it, enjoy it and ponder the God’s greatness and blessing that has been poured to us. If the birds can sing in the morning, why we don’t do the same thing? Please remember, God not concerned about how well or bad our voice but God will look at our sincerity in praising Him. Our voice quality should not to be a hindrance to keep praise the Lord. We are not in the front of audience who want hear our beautiful voice but we are coming to The Lord, bow down praise and worship Him as an expression of our gratitude for His wonderful blessings, love, comfort, rest, strength, peace and joy that has given to us. Tomorrow the birds will sing again, do we want participate to glorify God through praise that we raise with sincerity, humility, with a very close relationship, and let God be exalted through our praise? Let’s start make our morning become a beautiful moment to lift up our hand to the Lord and praise:

In moments like these I sing out a song
I sing out a love song to Jesus
in moments like these I lift up my hands
I lift up my hands to the lord

singing I love you, lord
singing I love you, lord
singing I love you, lord
I love you

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

(Psalm 98:4 NIV)

Karina – Living by faith

Related post Psalm 98:1 by atimetoshare

Image source: Habitatnews.nus.edu.sg

“In Moment like this” composed by David Graham

 

 

 

 

What a Friend We Have In Jesus

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS -Karina's Thought

 

My post this time was inspired by a hymn song that I heard when I on my way from the church to my home this morning.  “What a friend we have in Jesus” A beautiful well-known hymn song composed by Joseph M. Scriven. Do you have many friends? I am very sure yes you have so many friends. So do I. I have so many friends, even friends from different country. I love make a friendship with everyone.  Friends could make my life more colorful, cheerful, and excited. But the question is how many true friend we have? I am pretty sure we don’t have much.  When I was teen my mother once said that, “It is so easy to find friends, but isn’t easy to find and have a true friends.  There is a difference between ordinary friends with true friends. An ordinary friend could easily come and go but the true friend is someone who always is there in any of our condition. The true friend is someone who could give us encouragement and motivation when we are weak. Could make us feel safe because we know that we are not alone, could be a good listener, strengthen, help, and comfort us when we are in grief. With a best friend we can laugh together, cry, arguing, even quarrelling, but will not leaving each other.”

“What a friend we have in Jesus” remind us that even though we have very best friend, there is a friend above of all. Jesus is an extraordinary true friend that we can find. We may have a very best friend but they are still human being who has weakness. There is a time they could disappoint us but not with The Lord Jesus. He will never disappoint us.  Jesus longs to be our true friend and He himself reached out His hand offers a true friendship with us. If to build a true friendship with humans already provide a lot of advantages and benefits, much less if the friendship that intertwined between us and Jesus. He said:

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.

(John 15:15a NIV)

When I ponder this verse, I felt that I have a very big privilege. “I no longer call you servant” This is the first big privilege. Jesus not places us under Him. Jesus didn’t make a boundary between servant and master. He places us align with Him and made us a His friend. What are other privileges that we can get through making a friendship with Jesus? Let’s have a look together.

Love

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. (Proverb 17:17 NIV)

The Jesus’ love is always shed for us, whatever our condition, because He remains faithful. Jesus understands what became our struggle because He had suffered on this earth and bear all the sins of mankind sins. Jesus is always there for us, although as though He feels away, He is always there in our hearts. And He always listen our complaint and prayers. Anytime we want to confide, He always await us.

Sacrifice

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

Jesus’ sacrifice cannot be doubted. His greatest love has been proven by His death on the cross. He willingly laid down His life to redeem all of our sins. Jesus is a true friend who really loves. We may have best friends but we may not have best friends who willing to sacrifice their lives for our sins. His redemptive work is cleans every sins that we confess before Him. His blood cleanses us and brings up to standard to be able to come into His presence with courage (Hebrews 10:19 NIV)

Closeness

… But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24b NIV)

When Job experience of suffering, all the family and friends left him, and even forget him. But there is one person who never left and forgotten Job, He is the Father in heaven. In our daily lives maybe we once experienced that our brethren left us in misery and at the time a companion even accompany us faithfully. So it is with Jesus. He will never leave and forget us. He always closes to us.

Receptiveness

 I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15b NIV)

 Friendships very close with receptiveness. There is no secret story to a true friend. Likewise, Jesus will reveal all the secrets of heaven to us His people. We shall know God’s heart, His messages, advises, and His reprimand because Jesus himself who will tell us. His extraordinary grace will be poured out for us, when we build a friendship with Jesus. He will guide us and show His bright ways to our lives. He will provide the way out for every of our problems.

Trust

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. (James 2:23 NIV)

Friendship contains a bond of trust. When we believe in Jesus, we become His friend and we become people who can be trusted by Him. Trust will lead to the provision of greater responsibility. We see that the Lord gives a remarkable promise to Abraham, and the promise was fulfilled.

Is it difficult to be Jesus’ friend?  Let’s see what the Bible say to answer this question. First, have a look to this verse:

The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. (Psalm 25:14 NLT)

Fear Him. This first condition that He wants from us to become His friend. What is next?

You are my friends if you do what I command. (John 15:14 NIV)

What kind of God’s command that we should to do? Let’s have a look at verse 12:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

We will get privilege as Jesus’ friend we love each other as He loves us. Then, what other thing we have to do?

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

(James 4:4 NIV)

This verse clearly says that if we are friends with the world, we will become the enemy of God. This means that we should not be double-minded. We must choose to love God and to be His friend or loved the world and death as the consequences. (Romans 8:6-7 NIV)

I strongly believe that we all want and longing to make Jesus as a true friend and actually it is not difficult to be that way. It all is only depends on us. Whether we want to do all what is commanded by Him? Whether in our daily lives we have already fear Him? Have we loved each other as He loves us? Whether we are still friends of the world and love the worldliness things?

There was an inspiring story about friendship. There were two boys named Zac and Vincent. They were friends. When Zac was 6, he had the acute lymphoblastic leukemia and should take chemotherapy. Vincent as Zac’s best friend realized that the medical treatment for Zac was costly. Then he took the initiative to raise funds to help Zac’s medical treatment. He sold 20 scarves and was able to donate $200 to Zac’s family.  Vincent did not stop there, his sense of friendship also shown by coming to school with a shaved head. He said he did not want Zac feel weird having to bald alone, so he too shave his head.

If we make comparison between Vincent in that story with Jesus, Both of them did something for their friend. But Jesus not shaves His hair for us. Jesus did something greater and important than shaving hair. He willing to suffer endured terrible pain because tortured for many hours. He let His body covered in blood beaten and caned, and in His powerlessness He still had bear the cross. His Head wounded punctured with crown of the thorn. And finally He nailed and dead on the cross. For whom Jesus did all of that? For all of us! For what Jesus did it all? For redeem all of our sins! He paid it all of our sins that hinder our way to salvation by sacrificing Himself. Is there a friend like Jesus? If we have friends who are willing to suffer and sacrificing his own life for the sake of our salvation like Jesus did for us? I am afraid in this today world we cannot find a friend like Jesus.

My beloved readers, in His resurrection day, I ask all of us to ponder again where we place Jesus in our life? Whether we have been placed Jesus as our true friend? Or whether our heart are still ambiguous, even choose make a friend with the world? With all that Jesus has done for us, whether we are still hesitating to make Jesus as our true friend? In this Easter day, allow me to encourage all of us to always remember that God always longing and always reached out His hand to be our true friend. Human being still has weakness and limitations but neither to Jesus the Lord. There is a time human could let us down but neither to Jesus. Jesus has proven His perfect love to us through the great redemption work on the Cross. Jesus fulfilled all that was prophesied. In this Easter day let’s again examine ourselves. Have we become a true friend to Jesus? And if we have made Jesus as a true friend, whether we have done all His command? Let’s make this Passover to be a momentum to rebuild and renew our relationship with the Lord Jesus and truly make the Lord Jesus as a true friend. What a friend we have in Jesus. Amen

My dear friends, I, my husband Kevin, and our little precious Andrew says, wishing your Easter is decorated with love, peace, and joy of spring and the season’s blessings! HAPPY EASTER.

For more detailed story about Zac and Vincent please click here:

http://www.today.com/health/little-boy-shaves-head-comfort-best-friend-fighting-cancer-2D11975522

Karina – Living by faith

This post also can read in my other blog at http://karinalam.godinterest.org

Image source: http://www.theendlesslife.org

 

 

God’s Power Behind The Weakness

 

GOD'S POWER BEHIND THE WEAKNESS -Karina's Thought-Sue Nash

 

I begin my post this time with a short testimony about myself. Everyone who didn’t know me very well always said that I am a perfect woman. They said that I have inner and outer beauty, have an established life, have great charisma, and many more. Right now, unashamedly I am going to tell all of you that in fact, everything that they said about me was not entirely true. As a human being, I also have a weakness. I have congenital defect. Since age of 3 months, I have impaired hearing function. As a result, to remain be able to hear I have to use a hearing aid until now. This is what I mean as my weakness. No matter how sophisticated the hearing aid that I use, it still has limitations. I am still not being able to hear sound very well like others who have normal ears. There are specific sound frequencies that I couldn’t hear very well. A high tech hearing aid still cannot replace the perfect natural hearing instrument that created by God. When I have to accept the fact should use a hearing aid, another serious problem comes. I had low self-esteem problem. I am embarrassed because I felt different with other children. I felt different because to hear well I have to use hearing aid. Then I was isolating myself from my neighborhood. At that time, I felt my body is incomplete. Though I have ears but I felt didn’t have it because not functioned properly. This problem was continued until few years.

Fortunately, I am grateful to God to have parents who always incredibly encouraged me. Patiently they gradually can evoke my self confidence and took me out from my of inferiority problem. Until now I still remember very clear what my father said to me: “You may have a disability, you may not be able to hear normally like everyone else. But I have to tell you that you don’t need to be ashamed. Because why? Remember and always bear in your heart and mind that you are still God’s perfect creation. You were created by the creator of the whole world. One day you will see many people who have worse disability than you but God gives them another great ability and they still have a spirit to run their lives. You will see that they still can do great things. You aren’t totally deaf, you just cannot hear very well but it also has been overcome by using a hearing aid. You still can walk normally, speak normally, your brain and mind still functioned properly. You still can clearly see how wonderful God’s creation. And one more important thing is, there is God’s power and blessings behind the weakness. God is righteous. Behind your weaknesses there is a wonderful plan that He has provided for you. Just believe it and you will feel it”

My dear friends, here we talk about human weakness. I do believe that many people in this world have a weakness, whatever it is. Maybe we have physical weakness such as has a disability like me. We may have mental weaknesses like trauma, emotional instability, paranoid, or maybe we have intellectual and intelligence weakness and that weaknesses raises serious problems. We could be of inferiority, introvert, touchy, and difficult to develop self-esteem. We also tend to always focus on our weakness and doubt the abilities that actually we have. If we look at the Bible, there are several events that illustrate the lack of confidence to do things in accordance with the God-given task. The reasons such as physical weaknesses and limitations, too young, and other reasons that made them doubted their own ability.

I take an example, Moses. When Moses was sent by God to go to Pharaoh, he was no longer young and felt that he had a weakness. Let’s see the dialogs of Moses and God in Exodus 3: 11 -14 (NIV).  These dialogues were clearly reflected that Moses doubted his own ability. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Verse 11) Then God said: “I will be with you…” (Verse 12) Still not quite sure, Moses asked again and then with a very firm God said: I am who I am,{b} and I will be what I will be.” (Verse 14)

Though God has been said so firmly, the mist of doubt still covered his eyes and heart so he could not clearly catch the point of God’s answer. Then he said: Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10 NIV) Here, Moses spoke about his physical weakness and limitations. But let’s see what the God’s answer: “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”(Exodus 4:11-12 NIV) Perhaps it was true that Moses had a weakness in speaking. Moses was not an orator or a politician who is fluent in speaking. He is also not a good poet. But Moses forgot one thing which becomes important thing: Not due of his capability, but only by the God’s power that makes him capable.

Now back to myself for a moment. The encouragement word that had ever given by my father long time ago was so true. There is God’s power and love behind my weakness. Honestly, I really feel it until now. I feel how great God’s love and power within my disability. Though I have a hearing disability, actually God gave me another great ability. Doesn’t mean I am bragging, God gave me acuity of intuition, instinct, and very high sensibility in analyzing and solving a problem. I felt this way when I was 14. I am very sensitive to anything that might be causing the problem and if the problem really happened, I already know and prepared to solve it. God also gave me ability in read people’s mind only by looking the ways they talk. I am not saying that I have sixth sense or supernatural ability, but this is what I feel and I strongly believe all of that are only gifts from God. And later, these gifts are very useful to support my work. I am very grateful to God for such the great gifts and blessings and I felt these gifts could cover up my weakness that already becomes a burden for many years. That is why in my “About me” page, I mentioned that I am just an ordinary woman but with an extraordinary blessings from God. I realized that behind my physical weakness and limitations God’s power really works to enable me to run my big responsibility. This means that in doing something, actually not because of my capability but God’s power can make me capable to doing great work.

I more realized that I didn’t need to be ashamed, of inferiority, and trying to hide my weakness. Through my weakness and limitations, I can even feel how great God’s power and love. God’s power made perfect within my weakness. I remembered one great figure in the Bible, Paul. We all already know Paul’s background but we also know very well who he is after God incredibly changed him. He remarkably used by God to did evangelism to everywhere. And the interesting thing is, behind his great ministry, Paul realized that there were times where he felt weak, fear, trembling, and he wasn’t ashamed to confess his weakness. He said to the Corinthians:I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.” (1 Corinthians 2:3 NIV) Furthermore, in his ministry journey, Paul once felt bothered with his weaknesses but God said: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 2:9 NIV) Paul finally realized that it wasn’t his ability that becomes important thing, but because God alone that make him able and then he came to the conclusion that: “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV)

My beloved readers, I exactly don’t know what kind of weaknesses you have. But today, as a person who have a weakness, allow me to encourage all of us, if we have weaknesses and limitations, either physically or psychological, please don’t be ashamed, discouraged, feel inferior, or trying to hide it. Always remember that God can use our weaknesses, inability, and incompleteness. God will fulfill us with His power to being able doing many great things behind our weaknesses. Perhaps, from our point of view we aren’t quite able to do something great but please remember if God wills, everything will be happens. There is nothing impossible before God. In the bible there are many stories that prove God did not use those who had an extraordinary capability. But God can use shepherds, Christian’ slayer, from children to the elderly, sinners, tax collector, fisherman, prostitutes, and  extraordinarily God changed them  and  wonderfully use them as a channel of His blessings. Let’s always remember that: God is righteous! Behind our weaknesses God bless us with other abilities that can cover up our weaknesses. We just need to be more observant and sensitive to explore other abilities that have given by God. Don’t let weaknesses steal our attention to other abilities that actually we have. Otherwise, if we feel that we completely don’t have any weaknesses, be grateful and don’t boast before God. (1 Corinthians 1:29 NIV)

Within our weaknesses, let’s come to God and hear his heart wishes. We will continue grow in strength, zest, and joy if we keep build close relationship with our Father in Heaven. Let the God’s power works within our weakness and limitation. Our weakness isn’t the end of everything. Bear in our heart that God ready to show His perfect power upon our weaknesses.  Always remember that God did not create us in vain, or deliberately make us suffer. God has a wonderful plan for all of us. Remain be grateful and let’s prove that God’s power is able to change everything, even within our weaknesses and limitations. Let’s stop to only focus on our weaknesses and don’t let us drown in it, admit it, and feel how God’s power will be able to shine upon our weaknesses. God amazingly blessed us with another great ability. He is able to use us to declare His glory and God’s power will perfect in our weakness. Amen.

Karina – Living by Faith

Photo by: Sue Nash. https://heavenlyraindrops.wordpress.com/

{B} Bible gateway footnote

 

 

 

The Faith of The Centurion

THE FAITH OF THE CENTURION -Karina's Thought

 

Today, my yearly Bible reading reached to the book of Matthew 8 and I am interested to share a bit what I have learned from the Centurion of Capernaum in verse 5 to 13. Even though this passage talks about faith of the centurion, I got another important lesson from this centurion.  There are three important things we could learn from this passage. Let’s have a look together.

 Mercy

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help for his paralyzed servant at his home. (Matthew 8:6 NIV) The centurion came to Jesus not because he is sick but he felt so sorry with his servant’s suffering. As a leader, would be so easy for him to cast away his servant and find a new one. But let’s see, he was willing to spent his time and try hard to meet Jesus. Here we could see that the centurion not just had a mercy but also accompanied with action by asking for help to Jesus. He did something concrete.

A question arises in my mind. In this very difficult live today, how big our mercy to our friends or relatives who are in difficult situation and need our hand? Whether our mercy has been accompanied with action? It is easy to have mercy but we may not easy to help them concretely. We may tend to have sympathy but difficult to have empathy. I often heard the old and classic reason: “How we could help others if ourselves in the difficult and shortcomings situation?” I remembered with the church in Macedonian. In the midst of very severe trial, they still have overflowing joy in giving and they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. (2 Corinthians 8:2-4 NIV) Maybe this time we do not like the church in Macedonia who is in poverty but are we already have generosity to give a little we have for those who are in need? Are we already have mercy that accompanied by action? It is very good to show a mercy and sympathy, but in reality oftentimes it is not enough to lighten those who have burden concretely.

Actually, God takes into account all mercy that we show to our neighbor no matter how small it is. Jesus said: “The King will reply, ‘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) In our daily lives I often see the contrary situation to what was done by this centurion. The higher one’s position they lose their sense of mercy for others. This centurion has great mercy regardless of his position or status. And did not merely have sense of mercy but he revealed with the real action. This centurion of Capernaum can be a role model to us to always remember to have sense of mercy to others no matter their position lower than us or not because God alone has a great mercy to us and He will forget our sins.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV)

Humility

Now let’s take a look at the second important thing from the centurion of Capernaum. Humility! Yes this centurion had humility. Let us examine together. After Jesus knew the centurion ask for help to heal his servant, Jesus said that He wanted to come to the centurion’s house and heal his servant.

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

(Matthew 8:7-8 NIV)

Let’s pay attention to the centurion reaction. He did not say: “Yes, that is I want from you. Please come to my house and heal my servant immediately” but let’s look at his answer on verse 8: “Lord I do not deserve to have you come under my roof…”  Here we can see the sense of humility of this centurion. There are two things that show the centurion’s humility. First, let us notice to his efforts to meet Jesus in order to his servant to be healed. I imagine one thing. As a centurion, I do believe he has a lot of soldiers. It will be easier he ordered one of his men to go to meet Jesus. But he did not do it. He did it himself. The second thing is he felt unworthy to have Jesus come to his house. This centurion really realized who he was and that was clearly reflected in the following verse:

“For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me…. “(Verse 9)

This humble centurion truly realized that he is not the highest person in the world. He still has a leader and above of all he really realized that he was dealing with the King of kings.

To be honest, this part immensely touched my heart, become a rebuke, and makes me asking to myself. As a person who has position in the company, whether I already have humility in the eyes of all who are under me? This centurion becomes a great reminder to me. Although I have high position and big authority but there is still my parents who in fact is the owner of the company. Every single policy and decision that I take still needs their approval. And more than it all, there is God who created and become the owner of all in this world. This time maybe God bless us with the very high position and have full authority in a company, an organization or wherever we are. Be grateful for that and be grateful God entrust us to sit on the high position. But we must always remember to keep being humble. Remember that all of it is blessing from God. If we are become arrogant, God will not be pleased and anytime He can take it all back from us. Let us learn from the centurion of Capernaum to always has humility as God commanded,

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

… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)

Great Faith

My beloved readers, now we come to the part that become a title of this passage. For me, this section is the most important thing that I got and learned from this centurion.  It is talk about something that becomes a foundation in the Christian living. Now we talk about faith. The centurion had something great and awesome. He had a great faith. Let’s take a look again to the verse 8.

For he was not worthy to have Jesus come in his house, then he said: “But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” I am so impressed with his word. This is amazing words that show such a great faith. His faith made him believe that God has a mighty power that is not limited by the dimensions of space and time. His faith also made him believe that through one word, Jesus has incredible power to do a healing miracle to his servant who far away in his house without Jesus’ touches hand directly. When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those following Him:

“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Verse 10)

 I imagine what I will do if one day my baby boy is sick then I ask my pediatrician come to my house but unfortunately he could not come and just give me suggestions what I have to do. Perhaps I will remain force the pediatrician come to my house because I will not satisfied and believe if I not see my doctor directly cure my baby. Oh, how much I want to have great faith like this centurion. Without need to look directly Jesus heal his servant, his great faith makes him believe that his servant will definitely healed. And it is proven. Jesus said, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. (Verse 13)

This time I will not deliver my thought about faith too much. I have written some posts which talk about faith and there are so many other excellent posts in the blog which talk about the same thing. Right now I just want to all of us to take a moment asking ourselves: How big our faith now? Whether we already have a great faith like this centurion? Are we having a great faith that makes us believe a miraculous thing will surely happen without we need to see it first? How deep these following verses embedded in our heart?

“…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b NIV)

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

Whether our faith can make us believe something invisible, believe something unbelievable and make us believe can receives something impossible [i] as we believe there is God even we cannot see His real figure? Let’s together examine ourselves again how the quality of our faith today.

My dear friends, at the end of this post I encourage all of us to learn from the centurion of Capernaum wholeheartedly. Let us unite in prayer, pray for one another so that in every step of our lives, we have great mercy and accompanied with real action for our neighbor regardless of whom they are and no matter whom we are. Let us also remain have the humility even though we have a high position and authority wherever we are. Although there is no one higher than us, still remember there is God who the highest of the high. And the most important thing let us always maintain our faith in God. Let us pray so our faith keep growing, getting stronger day by day, strengthen our faith with outpouring of God’s word every day and finally will enable us to believe in something without having to look at. Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Related article: https://insightsfromtom.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/john-448-believing-without-miracles/

 

Image source: historylectionary.com

[i] Quoted from Corrie Ten Boom’s quote

The Palm and Cedar tree

PSALM 92 12- Karina's Thought

 

In the bible we found so many parables especially that used by Jesus Christ to deliver His teaching. Also before Jesus came down to the world, God has been using many parables that given through His prophets. If we look carefully God uses many elements of nature as a parable. This time I am interested to talk about a parable in the book of Psalm namely the parable of a palm tree and cedar of Lebanon

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; (Psalm 92:12 NIV)

The interesting thing from this parable is The Psalmist compares the righteous with the shoots that appear in the palm trees, and lush like a cedar in Lebanon. To capture the meaning and essence of this parable, let us first look at the character of both of these trees. First, let’s have a look on the palm tree. For the wanderers who walk in the dry and barren desert, it is uplifting thing if they see a palm tree. Why? Because if they meet the palm tree, so it means soon they will meet an oasis or water spring. There will be no a palm tree if there is no water spring around the tree.

How does the palm tree can grow in the barren and dry desert? When the seeds of palm are planted, the fibrous roots will penetrate the ground to find and absorb the water. Even though the roots of palm tree do not penetrate too deep to the ground but each fiber of the roots will spread and gripping the ground so strong. That is why the palm tree could become a strong tree. The palm tree will be deeply rooted although not too deep.

This is the meaning and essence that The Psalmist wants to convey. Deeply rooted! The righteous shall have strong roots. The righteous will be able to stand strong in the midst various obstacles, remain strong even though hit by powerful desert storm, and be able to continue to grow and produce fruit. I likened the problems and obstacles such as the dry, barren and scorching desert but the palm tree remain able to grow through deeply roots and know where put their hope. And the God’s word clearly says:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV)

Palm trees are able to grow in the middle of a barren desert because they know where to find water. So it is with us, we will be able to live even though in the middle of struggles and hard life if we know where to obtain the “Living water” furthermore, when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well:

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water… Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10, 13-14 NIV)

Besides having a deeply rooted character, Like a palm tree which is full of nutrients and invigorating,  the righteous supposed to be a refresher for the “barren and dry “environment , become an oasis in the desert,  and be blessing that bring joy to others. In the other word, be the light and salt as the message of Jesus himself. (Matthew 5:13-16 NIV)

Now let’s take a look to the second tree, Cedars of Lebanon.  Cedars are known to be very strong and not easily weathered. Getting older instead of being fragile, even the wood is getting stronger. The tree is also known to have a strong resistance to weather changes. No wonder at the time, cedars is often used for palace’s pillars and even the temple courts. In the book of Kings we can get a picture of this cedar tree. When Solomon built his palace, he mostly uses this cedar trees from Lebanon.

He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams. It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns—forty-five beams, fifteen to a row. (1 Kings 7:2-3 NIV)

So, the meaning of cedars parables are, we are as the righteous is expected to be strong person who can act as a pillar for the life of our fellow, and for the God’s glory. We have to become a strong person who not easily wavers in facing the severity of the life’s problems, not easily fragile facing the heavy storm of life.  We have to still standing strong despite many world temptations trying to strike us.

Based on the character of both of these trees we can see clearly that the Psalmist does not arbitrarily take a parable. There is a strong intent behind this parable. Palm trees and cedar symbolizes us as the righteous that live in Christ. We expected to have characters like both of those trees. Deeply rooted, able to overcome obstacles, continue growing, able to live in the midst of difficulties, able to bear fruit and become fresheners that bring joy to the people around us, then also be able to become a strong pole in life.

When I read and ponder this parable, there are questions crossed in my mind.  What about us now?  As Christ followers, have we deeply rooted like palm tree and know where we have to get living spring water? Have we thrive and bear much fruit that gives joy and blessing to many people around us? Or whether in fact our life become like a dry and barren desert? Have we become a strong poles like cedars wood, growing with incredible strength? Or otherwise we are still easily wavering buffeted by wind, always unsteady and even someone else sustain us?

I strongly believe that we all have deep longing to always growing strong, bear much fruit, and can be a blessing to others. We also long to be a strong pillar who could sustain someone other. How we can grow, and bear fruit? Very clear God’s word says:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4 NIV)

Then Jesus continued:

“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)

Let’s pay attention to the verses above. Until three times Jesus the Lord mentions “remain in me” This means it is very clear to us that always remain in Him is the most important thing we have to do. To be fruitful and be a blessing to others, we have to live and deeply rooted in Christ.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.(Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)

Without it, all just be in vain. That is what will bring us to the living water, water that will be given by Jesus which  will not be able to make us thirst forever, become the water spring in Him who constantly welling up to eternal life.

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”(John 4:14 NIV)

And when we bear much fruits we will glorify God.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8 NIV)

For how long we can bear fruits? If we refer to the nature laws, our capabilities will have decrease such as our eyesight, hearing, brain and mind, and so on. Our physical condition cannot resist the natural law in line with our ages. But it does not mean we have stop to bear fruits. How come? God has declared this long, long time ago:

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)

Our strength is limited and will decline, but we must remember that the power of God will never decrease. And God says ready to carry, bear and saved us up even though our hair graying. This is God’s promise. That is clear, God still has a plan even when we are old and weak, and God still wants to use us regardless of age and ability.

My dear friends, let’s us encourage and pray one and another to always make effort and learning to have characters like palm and cedar tree by always live in God and the Holy Spirit. Always walks in the truth of God’s word and His will. Always maintain intimacy of our relationship with God. If our spiritual life begins dry and barren, immediately splash our spirituality with the living God’s word so we will continue to thrive and bear much fruit.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season,
 whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV)

Let God guiding and strengthen us in the forming process to be a person who have characters like palm and cedar tree. Do not rely on our own ability to become strong pole but be strong in God and in His grace. Amen.

… Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10 NIV)

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1 NIV)

Karina – Living by faith

Thank you to brother in Christ Daniel Lyons for the great thought and further information about the palm tree

Image source:shintaluki.blogspot.com

Become The best Wine

BECOME THE BEST WINE-Karina's Thought

 

Though my family no longer officially celebrates a Chinese New Year, we have an old tradition to have a dinner together with some of our relatives. Before we take a dinner, one of my uncles gave me a bottle of wine. He said the wine was bought when he took a holiday in France a few years ago and it become a quite old wine.  He also said that the wine is one of the best wines. However, this time I will not discuss about that wine but I want to talk another thing that related to the wine.

I was reminded one of the famous story in the Bible, Marriage at Cana.  I have learned so many implications from this story. Today I specifically want to focus on the miracles when Jesus changed water into wine. At the time, the biggest problem that occurred is, the wine was run out. Let’s we take a look briefly to the situation there:

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons (John 2:6 NIV)

Twenty or thirty gallons means approximately hundred liters water can be stored to the jars. It is very much. Then what happens next?

Jesus said to the servants “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” (John 2:7-8NIV)

And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside  and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (John 2:9-10 NIV)

Now let’s look further, what was given through the Jesus’ miracle was not just an ordinary wine, but said as the best wine. Then its best wine enjoyed by the guests and to be a blessing to many people there. The situation might be so different if which is served plain water only. My beloved friends, from this story we can take important lessons: Like what actually we are today? Are we still like plain water, or water that is in the process to be wine, or has become the best wine? Just as Jesus could change water into wine, He can change us to be a best wine that can bless and brings joy to many people. Or we have become a wine but not to be a best wine instead becomes a sour wine?

I am reminded of the allegory about the vineyard in the book of Isaiah 5:1-7.

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. (Isaiah 5:1-2 NIV)

This was an allegory about God the owner of vineyard and His children were described as vines. If we read all verses, this passage specifically spoke about repentance that yields fruit. When we repent and accept Jesus, we supposed become a new creation that continues to grow and bear fruit with excellent quality. But in our daily lives, very sad and ironic I still found many Christians who repent and accepted Christ as personal savior does not growing and fruitful very well. As a grape that looks very good from the outside but it turned have a bad taste.  There are many Christians who falling back into the sin and still doing old bad habits or even fall into a new sin. Wearing “clothes of Christianity in order to looks good but in fact has an opposite personal life to the true Christian life. Finally, we become a stumbling block and make God disappointed.

What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? (Isaiah 5:4 NIV)

Was not we would feel the same way if we had tried to care for and nurture a tree, but the result is bad? All the work we do just in vain. We will be sad and disappointed. Then what happens to the bad fruit? Let’s see to the following verses:

Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”(Isaiah 5:5-6 NIV)

This is the very bad consequence which must be accepted by a vine that did not bear fruit well. Is described more in Matthew 3:10:

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Also in Revelation 14:18b -19:

“Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.

God was angry and disappointed! Is it reasonable? Yes of course! He has given all the best for us; even he was willing to sacrifice his only Son for our salvation. But we still prefer to follow the pleasures of the world. He has shown all His ways through the Bible, but we do not want to read it. God has bestowed the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we continue to pollute ourselves so that the Holy Spirit does not like to dwell in it.

My dear readers, what about us? Like what we are today? Like the best wine or the bad wine? Have we become good wine that brings joys and blessing to many people? Or we’ve become the grapes that looks from the outside so good but in reality we are just sour grapes that have been disappointing God and finally will get very bad consequence as described in the verses above? Whether we are Christians who really bears the Christian’s “clothes” that could become a light send out the light of Christ’s love? This evening, I ask you once again, let’s evaluate ourselves these things. How our spiritual life quality today? God expects our lives yield sweet fruits and become a blessing to many others. We should to be a sweet vine. Not to be a vine that does not yield anything. We have to make sure could produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8 NIV)

How we can remain to grow and bear high quality fruit? Now let’s back to the story of Marriage at Cana.  Another important lesson that we can take from it is, initially Jesus Himself told to the servants to fill the jars with water.  Crossed in my mind, if only Jesus did not tell to the servants to fill water into the jars, so the wine would not be available.  What is the important thing that we could learn from this part? This section refers to how important we always fill ourselves regularly with the God’s living word in order to become the best wine. God’s word is the most important thing in our life.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

(Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

And before the jars are filled with water, there is important message from Jesus’ mother to the servants:

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5 NIV)

Here we can learn that obedience to Jesus is an important factor as well. So in short we can see that if we humans are in the Jesus’ hand, obedient to Him and  always fill ourselves with the God’s word, then we can be changed to become wine (blessing) for others.

Wine is the result of fermentation process of the grapes. The best wine comes from the high quality grapes. Very expensive wine is a wine that has been through the process of fermentation for many years. It also applies to us. To become the best wine we need long process and the process oftentimes not always pleasant. There are times we have to experience severe things, painful, and so hard in facing the world temptations and challenges that could destabilize our faith. But through it all we can be changed into the high quality wine that can be a blessing to others. Therefore, I encourage all of us to always fill our “Jars” with the God’s word that will arm us to face any kind of temptations that could make us falling into the sins. God’s word is complete arms to face spiritual warfare. After we fill up with God’s word, we have to remain obey to His command

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11 NIV)

“We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:29 NIV)

We also have to diligent in prayer and petition as the Bible said,

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36 NIV)

My beloved friends, let’s together encourage each other in prayer in order we always willing to be formed and changed, remain strong to go through all processes, and continue to grow in God’s providence so we will bear much and the best fruit and become not just an ordinary wine but the best wine so the God’s sweet love and glory can shine through us and we can be a blessing to many people. Amen.

“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)

Karina – Living by faith

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