A Letter from Mother

Hello, my dear friend! In this mother’s day I wanted to share something that changed my life. Well, when I was a teenager I had a little problem with my mother. We had a less harmonious relationship. After celebrating my 17th birthday, she came to my room brought a small box of gift and a letter. At the time she said, “Here’s a special birthday gift from me and this is a letter that I have written quite long time. I just waiting for the right moment to give this letter to you. My princess, I realize we have a bit problem with our relationship but I as your mother, I deeply understand and always struggling to make our relationship better. I hope and pray, when you read this letter you will understand too and also want to make a better relationship with me.”

At first I wasn’t interested in reading my mother’s letter, but somehow I felt there was a very strong urge to open and read the letter. Then I read it. My dear friends, after I finished read my mom’s letter, I cannot hold my cry. Then I ran to my mom, I hugged her tightly, and along with my crying I said, “Mom, please forgive me…Please forgive me… I love you, mom! I love you…”

My beloved readers, after my mother granted me a permission, I want to share her letter to all of you. I hope and pray this letter could be a reminder to all of us that figure of mother is incredible figure in this world. There’s always unseen tears in the mother’s heart, there’s a pain behind her smile, and there’s fatigue behind her eyes. But she never complained. She chose to hide her sadness behind her sweet smile, she chose hide her tears behind her shining eyes, she chose to hide her pain behind her laugh, she chose bring her hurt into prayer. Here’s my mom letter,

To my little princess,

When I was married, I never thought about what kind of child I want to have, I never thought how to care for and the way I raise my child. I just live my life.

When I gave birth you, I was experiencing a terrible pain that equal with the broken body bones at the same time. I felt a pain beyond the pain that any man in this world can bear. I almost give up! But for the sake of to see you born and live in this world, I struggled against the threat of fear of the death. I risked my own life for you.

When I saw and hugged you for the first time, I was speechless. There was only a deep sense of emotion, and unstoppable happy tears and proud came out from my eyes. You know, at the time no matter how hard and difficult, I immediately promised to myself and to God I will take care and raise you with both of my hands.

It wasn’t easy to raise you. It wasn’t so easy to made you grows. It wasn’t a simple matter teaches you many important things about life. Not infrequently when you were angry at me, you even yelled at me. But it doesn’t matter at all. For me, it all was a part of process toward a goodness. A process to form you to be good.

When you felt grown up, you felt restricted. You should not do this and that. You think I’m old-fashioned, out of date, and unable to understand what you want. When we were walking together, you choose to keep distance from me. Maybe you as grow up girl, you felt ashamed still walking with her mother, or you just didn’t like my dress that I wore

To be honest, in the deepest of my heart I sometime felt hurt! But when I remember the first time I hugged and carried you, my hurt immediately vanished. You are still my one and only daughter. Whatever happens I love you and will always love you. You’re my reason to keep survive, and beside God you’re the source of my strength. You’re the one who makes me willing to work hard all day long even though I have to feel sorrow, pain, and suffering. Because of your presence I feel so meaningful especially when I hear you call me, mother!

My dear princess, maybe the time of my presence in this world is limited. If you work hard and success, you don’t need to give me a luxurious palace and an abundant wealth. Keep it for yourself. I just hope and pray you’re willing to set aside a bit your time for me. Sitting beside me and talks heart to heat is enough for me.

I’m so proud of you. Please forgive me if I once hurt you, scolded you, forbade you to do what you want to do. Believe me, it’s all just because I want you to be a good girl and fear to God. I always love you, yesterday, now and forever.

My beloved readers, I end this post with a poem for my mother

God has given me a disguise Angel with a strong wings and a gold heart,

She so selfless, so giving as she can be, she shares her mercy without thinking about herself

She risked her own life for the sake of my safety

She is so faithful, wise, and so kind.

She gives a never ending love and unstoppable prayer for a reason I always fine

God has given me a blessing a tremendous hero all the time,

And I am so proud call the angel, Mother!

Happy mother’s day, Mom. Please forgive me. I always love you, yesterday, now, and forever.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! (Isaiah 49:15)

Karina – Living by faith

Rebecca Fong.

Image source: Google images

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May I Pray for You?

Hello my dear Readers! Here I come back with my own post. The idea of this post came out from my foster sister, Sandra who during these few days, with the different colors she wears a shirt that reads “May I pray for you?” When I asked her who you want to pray for, she earnestly said everyone who need to pray for. Beside pray for ourselves we should pray for others too.

Talk about pray for others; I remembered one bible figure that mentioned in the Colossians, named Epaphras. Who is Epaphras? We might not know very well about this man. It’s reasonable because there isn’t much record about Epaphras in the bible. He wasn’t a famous figure like Paul, Peter, John, and other apostles. But still, for me what Epaphras did was very inspiring me. Paul mentioned him in the letter of Colossians and Philemon. Epaphras was a faithful minister and fellow servant who were serving God together with Paul and the other apostles (Colossians 1:7) and he also together with Paul in prison. (Philemon 1:23) Epaphras was coming from Colossians and was helping to build church in the many places such as in his own city, then Laodicea and Hierapolis. What’s the interesting thing from Epaphras? Let’s together look at this verse:

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. (Colossians 4:12-13)

My heart deeply touched with one word of those verses. “He is always wrestling in prayer for you,” Where is Epaphras at the time? Was he in the pleasant place? No! Not at all! Together with Paul and others apostles he was in prison and waiting for death row! Can we imagine?! Someone jailed and headed to the death still be able to pray for others? Oh, what an amazing act! Normally, someone who’s in prison and will soon be put to the death will be in the deep misery, sadness, and fear. Even if he prayed, he will definitely pray for himself so that would be released from prison and free from the death! But it didn’t happen to Epaphras. He didn’t pray for his own sake. He wrestled prays for others! Even said that he always pray of others. Always, not only occasionally! What was prayed by Epaphras? He prayed for the congregation that he founded in Colossian. He wrestled in prayer so that the congregation could still stand firm, no longer as children but as mature and faithful people with all the things God wanted to. Although it had grown, he still wanted his congregation keep growing even without his presence and other apostles. He wanted they still have strong spiritual muscles, have a firm faith that remains rooted in Christ no matter of the situation! He wanted them remains steadfast in doing whatever God wants till the end.

My beloved readers, prayer has tremendous power. Throughout my personal life, I have experienced many times how great the power of every prayer I pray. It’s written in James 5:16,

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Yes that’s true! As long as we live in righteousness, pray earnestly with firm faith, without any hesitation our prayers will so powerful. However, sometimes we’re in a situation where we’re experiencing very hard life struggle and when the problems repeatedly hit us, we become difficult to pray or we even forget to bring every of our struggle and problems into the prayer. Well my dear friends that are the time we need someone other to pray for us. When we’re unable to speak in prayer because of the heavy burden of life, we need others who really care about us and willing to pray for us. The more people pray for us are better. It’s written in Matthew 18:19,

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Besides pray for ourselves, why we should to pray for others? After I am thinking and pondering, there’re four reasons why we should pray for others. Here it is…

First, praying for other is a form of fulfillment of the command that was written in the New Testament,

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (1Timothy 2:1-2)

Moreover, when we help to bear others’ burden through prayer, it means we are fulfilling and obeying the law of Christ.

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

The second, praying for others is a form of love. There are two kind of love; first, love to fellow human beings. When we pray for our parents, family, or friends it means we love them. Even Jesus commands us not only to love our loved ones, but to love our enemies.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:43)

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (Luke 6:27)

The second form of love is love to God. Praying is a form of our intimacy with God and our intimacy with God is a form of our love to Him. Through prayer we communicate intimately with God and not only love but we also believe in His omnipotence in this world and that He will give the best for His people. By praying for others, we believe To the God’s power.

The third reason is when we pray for others there will be a multiplication of thanksgiving to God. For this statement, I make an illustration like this: One day, my foster sister, Sandra has to face a big problem and then I pray for her. When God answers my prayer and by God’s help Sandra’s problem solved, there will be multiplication of thanksgiving to God. First, I thank you to God for He heard and answered my prayer for Sandra, the second, Sandra will also give thanks to God because God has helped to solve her problem.

The last reason is that the prayer is an act that accompanies our faith. It’s written in James 2:17,

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Prayer is a real action of our faith to God. Pray for ourselves or for others shows that we don’t have dead faith but we have a living faith and will always make live because when pray for others or ourselves we put faith as a foundation of our prayer. By faith we believe that God will hear and no matter what of the answer, God will always answers every of our prayers.

My beloved friends, what about us now? Whether in our prayer list beside a series of prayer for ourselves, is there a list of other names we will pray for? Have we prayed every problems and burdens of our family, friends, or anyone who need to pray for? Have we also prayed for our church, its leaders, its ministry, its future and growth, its congregation, and many other important aspects in the church? Have we prayed for our government and its component? This evening please allow me to encourage all of us to learn from Epaphras. If in unfavorable condition Epaphras still able and willing wrestling in prayer for others, why we who have much better condition don’t do the same thing like Epaphras? It’s very important we need to pray each other. James 5:16 also said that we have to pray for each other.

Let’s strengthen each other through prayer. Let’s begin to widen our prayer scope not just pray for our own interest and needs but let’s start to pray for others. We might couldn’t help someone problems in the real way, we might couldn’t be present to accompany and reassurance a burdened person, please don’t be discouraged! We could still be there through our prayer. Epaphras couldn’t longer with his congregation but he keep wrestling through prayer so that the spiritual life of his congregation in the Colossian church could continue to grow and getting mature in the knowledge of Christ. Don’t wait people come to us for prayer but it would be wonderful we first come to them and says, “May I pray for you?”

Allow me to give a short testimony about praying. My husband and I do a habit of praying. We divide the task, every day I make a prayer list for ourselves and family and my husband compiled a list of prayers for others. When we started that habit, I ask why we should pray for others while we don’t even know exactly what their problem is and what they need. Then my husband sweetly replied, “We don’t know or don’t even need to know what their problems and needs are. Every people have its own problem. When we mention their names in our prayer, I believe God hears our prayer and He knows every single of their problem and I do believe with His omniscience He will lend His loving hand to help them. Otherwise, please don’t forget that there are many those who diligently continue pray for us. We might know, maybe we will know, or even we will never know. When you succeed doing something, that’s not just because of your own ability but there are many people loves you pray for your success”

My dear friends, let’s make “pray for others” become our Christianity lifestyle and let’s joyfully start to get used to says “May I pray for you?” There will be no loss at all when we pray for other, even God will bless us like He bless Job after Job was praying for his friends.

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)

Maybe we don’t have special and much time to pray for others. It’s okay. Spending five to ten minutes of our time to pray for others is enough, as long we pray in righteousness and with the firm faith, and diligent our prayer will powerful and effective. May I pray for you? Amen

Karina – Living by Faith

Image source:thoughtco.com

THE NEW SEASON 2 : “THE HARD SEASON” (guest post)

In the previous article (The New Season – click here) we understand that life is a journey through season after season. Each season has its own joy and sorrow. We can predict certain seasons so that we can prepare ourselves, such as schooling, working, getting married, having children, and so on. But in the span of the season common to almost everyone, there is a time of unpredictable seasons that suddenly come and force us to make new plans, even urging us to take a new path that we never imagined. It would be nice if the season unpredictable it is a promotion. But often the unpredictable season is precisely a hard season that dims the light of hope and obscures the future. Somehow, suddenly everything moves beyond reason and control, insistently, without any logical reason. That’s what happened to Job. He had to face the hard season in the greatest scale ever experienced by a human being.

Job wasn’t a fictional character. He was a northern Arabian who was estimated to live around the time of Abraham or even before. The story of Job takes place in “the land of Us” (Job 1: 1) which later became Edom’s territory, located in the southeast part of the Dead Sea or north of Arabia. There is no clue to the history of Israel or the Law of Moses so as to suggest that the story of Job happened before the time of Moses (before 1500 BC). The Bible itself confirms Job’s existence, one of them in Ezek 14:13-14 NIV “Son of man,….. even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

How deep God’s wisdom, which gives the story of Job in His Word to us. Specifically, as a book that writes the sufferings of the righteous, the honest, the fear of God, and away from evil, the Book of Job answers one of the greatest questions of man throughout the ages: “Why do the righteous must be suffer?”.

The graph of Job’s life was like a man standing on top of a mountain and suddenly swooping down to the lowest bottom of a cliff. From being the richest man in the eastern region of the time, suddenly became the one who almost lost everything in the blink of an eye. From a respected man, suddenly his life was filled with pain and suffering, even blasphemy from his wife. In the midst of the great burden that must be borne, he must face a long debate with his friends, until God revealed himself and revealed his faults. Job 42: 1-6 is Job’s response to God’s rebuke. This passage is a conclusion of the hard season experienced by Job, as well as the opening key to a new phase with a broader horizon of looking at life with a true heart and the personal recognition of God.

Here are four of Job’s statements:

GOD IS POWERFUL AND SOVEREIGN

“I know that you can do all things; …” (Job 42:2a NIV).

Earlier, in chapters 38-39 God told Job that He is the God who created the universe and in His omniscience He sustains and nourishes everything in this universe perfectly. In Job 46:2, Job declares his confession that God is powerful and sovereign to do everything He wills. Everything means all things, without limitation, without exception, including manifesting His will in human life. Man has no right to question and challenge his decisions.

“Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’? (Isaiah 45:9 NIV)

GOD’ PLAN CAN NOT BE THWARTED

“I know that…. no plan of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2b NIV)

God always has a plan in doing things. There are special intentions and goals when God allows a hard season to happen. When God allows Satan to tempt Job, God knows the end result. God not only sees the time range when an event is in progress. In His omniscience He has looked to the future and God uses all aspects to realize His plan. Satan, man, natural factor, anyone and anything, can not thwart God’s plan!

GOD’S PLANS ARE TOO MIRACULOUS TO BE UNDERSTAND

You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. (Job 42:3)

When we read the previous chapters of the Book of Job, we find that Job has spoken of God and his bitter suffering. In chapter 42: 3, Job cites the Lord’s question in chapter 38: 2: ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?”. Then honestly Job acknowledged that he has spoken without knowledge (without true understanding) about things too miraculous for him to understand.

Without true knowledge and understanding, a godly and fear to God, we can be misunderstand and even blame God. If our attitudes toward God are not true, then we can’t grasp God’s purpose and plan behind what God is permitting in our lives.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and decisions and how unfathomable and untraceable are His ways! (Romans 11:33 AMP)

God’s plan is very mysterious and too magical for human being. Man with all its limitations, it is impossible to understand the great God. The more we measure God from our own point of view, then we will be further from the true understanding of the miraculous and beautiful of God’s plans.

GOD SHALL BE KNOWN PERSONALLY

You said, ‘Listen and I will speak!  I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said,  and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (Job 42:4-6 NLT)

Once again Job quotes the question of the Lord ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ From Job 38: 3b. Then Job answered the Lord with a confession that he has not known God personally. He only knew God from what people told him. Then he took away all his words that he had spoken and repented humbly before the Lord. His repentant and confession was the turning point of his life.

A true knowledge of God can’t be obtained simply by hearing about God from people. WE HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT GOD FROM GOD HIMSELF. God is too big, too great, and too powerful, far beyond all human understanding. We will not be able to know God properly, UNLESS GOD TALKS AND REVEALS HIMSELF to us.

Where and how do we hear God speak of Himself to us? From the Bible which is the word of God. Since the Bible is the word of God, the Bible can’t be read only as an information. The Word of God must be accepted, meditated, believed and lived in a personal relationship with God intensely.

Suffering is painful, but it is often the most effective way to change the human heart. Often we feel right and know God, until suffering reveals the hidden side of us. Our moral piety and moral integrity will be meaningless as we begin to realize who we really are before God that He is so great and we are only mortal dust that can’t live without Him.

REFLECTION

What season are you currently experiencing? Joy or a hard season? A friend advises me on what to do first when we have a hard season: self-correction. Have we done things that don’t pleasing to God, whether we unconsciously hurt people around us, whether we have made a mistake in managing our lives? Self-correction isn’t only to the what we have done but also to the inside of our heart and mind. It’s all about faith! If there’s a little piece of doubt to God, it would be a big problem with our relationship with God. Learning from Job, after he realized and confessed his mistake, God restored and blessed his life. Repentance is the door to restoration and humility always precedes honor.

The hard season is never easy to get through. What we must always remember is that God never leaves His children. God who from the beginning didn’t intend to harm Job, is God who also never intended to harm us. Let’s pray not only to ask for His help, but also to give thanks for His decision to allow us through difficult times, because God must have a beautiful plan that He wants to realize in our lives through His way. Keep rejoice within the suffering. Stop focusing on our hard times because it will hinder us to have joy. Let’s focus on God because there is always joy in the Lord. When we see the roses, don’t think and asking why God put the thorns on the rose but be grateful God put the rose on the thorns. Moreover, we’ve to remember that joy/rejoice in the Lord is our strength. With rejoicing in the Lord then there will be strength to overcome our problems and difficulties.

“… Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

 In addition to the blessings we can enjoy in the world, every hard season that we go through with God will also produce divine character and abundant spiritual fruit. And the end is that we know God more personally, which is more valuable than all the pleasures of the world.

My dear reader, the hard season often comes suddenly. But it doesn’t mean we can’t prepare ourselves at all. The wisest way is to build our lives on a solid foundation that is the word of God. Don’t treat God’s word only as a story or an information but treat it as our conversation with God. Understanding, believe with all heart, ponder, and response it with our deeds.

I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. (Luke 6:47-48 NIV)

If we make the Word of God as the guide of life and do it faithfully, then we not only don’t easily waver during the hard seasons, but also gain the wisdom and guidance to pass through. “Nun Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119: 105 NIV) As long as we go through that hard season in His own way, at the end of the season we will find the beauty of God’s plan fulfilled in our lives.

“Like a rose and thorns. Don’t focus on the thorns but let’s focus on the roses. Be grateful God put the rose on the thorns. Stop thinking and asking why God put thorns on the rose” (Karina Lam – Living by faith)

Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images

 

THE EMPTYTOMB

Hi all! In the next few days we will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection day. Honestly, toward to the Passover day sometimes I feel a bit sad and emotional because I still heard question like, “Is it true that Jesus has risen?” It could be normal if the question comes out from the unbelievers, but I really don’t understand when that question came out from people who have lived in Christ. It’s a very sad and weird reality! However, it’s okay! I’m trying to understand and accept this reality. I know that Jesus’ resurrection story has been a debate and causing the occurrence of pros and cons. Not only today, people who lived in Jesus’ time also didn’t believe or doubt; even worse some Jesus’ disciples also too (Matthew 28: 16-17)

Therefore, I’m longing to write about the facts of Jesus ‘resurrection. This post just a reminder that Jesus has really risen! I’m interested to choose Jesus’ tomb as a topic of this post. In my opinion the empty tomb was a starting point of the entire Jesus’ resurrection story. All things that happened in the tomb and the existence of tomb itself became a controversial story throughout the human life history and will goes on. Many people scientifically strongly objected to all things that happened in the tomb. They claim that it was only a legend or myth development created by Jesus’ disciples and followers. Some other argued it just an apologetics device rather than a historical fact that can be accounted for. The extreme opinion was said that Jesus actually never arose but His disciples stole Jesus’ body. Now, let’s take a look in detail what happened at the Jesus’ tomb.

The Angel of the Lord

The moment of Jesus’ resurrection begins with an amazing event. Along with a violent earthquake, The Lord’s angels with white clothes like a snow and appeared like a lightning came down from the Heaven, then rolled a multi-tons stone back at the entrance of the tomb then sat on it. (Matthew 28: 1-4) Oh, I imagine how wonderful the moment was. The angel sat on the stone was showing the magnificent of Jesus’ resurrection power and symbolized a glorious triumph over the death and sepulcher! Then the angel said to Mary Magdalene and other Mary who at the dawn went to look at the tomb,

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. “He is not here, He has risen, just as he said… (Matthew 28:5)

I took time for a while pondering this word then I tried to put myself as Mary Magdalene. When I heard the word, “He has risen, just as He said…” I am very sure the Angel not trying to delude me and there’s no more reason for me to not believe the angel’s words. The angel’s remarks has been totally become a very strong proof that Jesus has risen. The Angel wasn’t made up a fish story! Angels are the God’s messengers! They never lie! At the time, the angel was telling a thing that Jesus had said before (Just as he said…) but to convincing both of the women, the angle asked them to get into the tomb and showed where Jesus lay. The Angel said, Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6) A statement will be more credible if accompanied with authentic proof and at the time the angel gave an authentic, undeniable, and undoubted proof. The both of women didn’t see Jesus’ body. They simply found the neat grave clothes! After that the Angel told to the women tell to the Jesus’ disciples Jesus has risen from the dead and will see Jesus in Galilee (Matthew 28:7)

Women witnesses

My beloved readers, there was interesting thing in Jesus’ resurrection story and it becomes another absolute proof of Jesus’ resurrection. Titus Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, says that women weren’t even permitted to serve as witnesses in a Jewish court of law. But at the time, the fact was, the women, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary was mentioned and included as the first and main witnesses. I quote a comment of William Lane Craig about this matter; the discovery of the tomb by women is highly probable… Why women and not the male disciples were made discoverers of the empty tomb is that women were in fact the one who made this discovery. If I may conclude, the women, regardless of their status in Jewish society, were a part of grand design of Jesus’ resurrection story. The women had been plotted like that way. So if there’s an objection about women as witnesses, it doesn’t matter! Who cares! Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t a case in the court of law but a part of fulfillment of God’s promise. The happened fact the women found the empty tomb, they tell men (the disciples), the men made verification, and then they spread the word. It means the truth of the women’s testimony can be accounted for. So once again I think the idea of Jesus’ resurrection was only a legend created by Jesus’ followers is a very unreasonable idea. An event that involving trusted witnesses (though women) and someone else trust it cannot be called as legend or hoax!

The unknown tomb

Now let’s look to the tomb itself. There were so many disclosed theories to break the fact and truths of Jesus’ resurrection. There was a theory said that the Jesus’ tomb site was unknown. Well you know this theory made me take a deep breath and felt really confused. The Jesus’ tomb was unknown? I think this’s (I’m sorry to say) the dumbest theory ever revealed. I’ve no idea at all why they can make this stupid theory. I think the theorists had forgotten three important fact that written in the Bible. First, the brand new, hewn out of solid rock tomb was owned by the rich man from Arimathea named Joseph a member of supreme council of the Jewish (Sanhedrin) who asked Pilate to take Jesus’ body for burial (Matthew 27: 57-60) the second thing, at the time, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary also were there (Matthew 27:61) And later after three days, those women went back to the same and exact location, as did the disciples who ran to see it by themselves when hearing from the women that the tomb was empty. The third, because of the concern that Jesus’ body will be stolen by Jesus’ disciples, then the leaders of the Jewish priest took extra precautions (Matthew 27:65). They ensured that Jesus’ tomb was guarded by groups of highly trained Roman soldiers with very strict rules. So I think those who made this theory weren’t smart enough made a theory! Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene and other Mary, the Roman soldiers, they all knew where the exact location of Jesus’ tomb! I’ve personal opinion about the tomb. Though until now still a debate about the precise location of the tomb, it doesn’t matter! For me personally, the reason why Jesus dead, it does matter!

The broken seal

Beside guarded by highly trained soldiers, Jesus’ tombs was also sealed with Roman seal. A seal represented the power and authority of the Roman Empire. Break the seal means dead! And the ruthlessness of Roman soldiers was well-known and feared so there was no one dares to break the tomb that automatically break the seal, and steal Jesus ‘body even by Jesus’ disciples! Actually, Jesus’ crucifixion made the disciples confused, afraid, and most of them were hiding. Even Peter, who swore he willing to die for Jesus, denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion!

The unusual stone position

There was unusual thing in the tomb. When the women and other people were approaching the tomb in the morning they found the unusual position of the rolled stone. To explain the stone position, Mark, in his gospel mentioned “Anakulio” from the root “Kulio” which mean “roll” So “Anakulio” (with preposition “Ana” means “to roll up a slope or an incline” I imagine something about this stone. It’s not too difficult a small number of men put the stone weighing one to two tons in place because typically the place in front of the tomb was sloped down. But isn’t so easy for a few men to roll the stone uphill to the slope. The unusual position of the rolled stone was another proof that Jesus’ body wasn’t stolen even by the disciples. It was so impossible for a few men roll the stone away secretly without being noticed by the Roman soldiers. Moreover, the tomb was guarded all the time. Periodically the guard would be exchanged.

The grave clothes

My beloved friends, actually the tomb wasn’t completely empty. Jesus was gone, but His grave clothes still there and became a silent witness and showed a supernatural nature of His resurrection. John in his gospel carefully explained the fact that the Jesus’ grave clothes were still in place. (John 20: 1-7) the grave clothes lay there as if Jesus’ body lifted out of the grave clothes. When buried, Jesus’ body was wrapped in linen cloth with aromatic spices mixed with a gummy substance called “myrrh” The myrrh will strongly adhered to Jesus’ body. Logically, let say the Jesus’ body was stolen; the thieves will work as fast as they can and take the Jesus’ body along with the grave clothes. It was so impossible and a ridiculous act the thieves take some time to separate the grave clothes and the body then again laid it out neatly.

My dear readers, after we’re reminded again by six important facts in the Jesus’ tomb that I submit in this post, I hope and pray there’s no more doubt in our heart and mind about the facts of Jesus’ resurrection and stop wasting our time and energy to think unneeded thing about Jesus’ resurrection. All theological facts have been completely written in the Bible even written by four apostles. Trustable and credible historical facts also have been found. Now is just a matter of our faith! Jesus’ resurrection among the dead is a foundation of Christian faith. It’s written in 1 Corinthians 15:14,

and if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

The resurrection of Christ made the apostles’ faith drastically growing so they were daring to proclaim the God’s word and they were willing to be martyr. Jesus’ resurrection was becoming a revival of their faith. I also earnestly pray what has happened to Jesus’ disciples at the time also happens to us. Maybe we don’t have to be martyr but we’re experiencing a resurrection of faith. Our faith becomes stronger in waiting for the next fulfillment of God’s prophecies and promises, and by faith keeps watch until His second coming.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Matthew 24:42)

And by the firm faith we’ve great longing to spread the truth of God’s word to all people especially to unbelievers so they repent, believe, be saved, and they become disciples of God, as Jesus commanded to us,

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)

Happy resurrection day from me, my husband Kevin, and Andrew! God Bless!

Karina – Living by faith

Special thanks to Sister Sella Irene for the great suggestions

Image source: urantiansojourn.com

THE SECOND CHANCE (guest post)

There are certain circumstances in our lives that the way out can be obtained only through a breakthrough. A divine momentum that will produce a supernatural leap, which is impossible to achieve in ordinary situation. This momentum can be a scarce chance that given by God. But unfortunately sometimes we fail to recognize and take that chance. If we ponder deeper, the failure is mainly because of ourselves. Either because we don’t know, don’t want to do it, fear, worry, hesitate, and so forth. Eventually we lose the momentum that we don’t know when it will come again, or even never come again. That was what the Israelites experienced. They failed to enter the Promised Land at the first opportunity because they rebel against God. As a result, they have to wander in the desert for 40 years.

THE FIRST CHANCE

God brought the Israelites out of Egypt with miraculous signs. After passing through several stops, three months later they arrived at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1) and camped at there for about 13 months. In Sinai God gave the Ten Commandments and various rules about the ordinances of worship and daily life. Then the Lord commanded to count the number of all the men from 20 years old and above who are able to go to war. In fact, God was preparing them to enter Canaan, the Promised Land.

Furthermore, God led them until they arrived at Kadesh Barnea, which is an 11-day journey from Sinai (Deuteronomy 1:2). Then Moses sent 12 men, including Joshua and Caleb, to spy on Canaan. After 40 days the spies returned and reported: “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33) Israelites became angry and rebelled against God by intending to return to Egypt. Only Joshua and Caleb who still believed God could bring them into Canaan. God was angry and decided that the rebellious generation who was 20 years old and above would not enter the Promised Land. As a consequence, they must wander in the desert for 40 years! (Numbers 14:1-38)

“For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this desert; here they will die.” (Numbers 14:34-35)

Because of remorse and fear of God’s punishment, the people finally attacked Canaan. But because of God was not with them, they were easily defeated until they scattered by the enemy (Numbers 14:39-45). That was the failure of the Israelites to enter the Promised Land at the first chance. But God keeps His promise, though to get the SECOND CHANCE they have to wait for 40 years!

THE RESPONSE IN DEALING WITH THE SECOND CHANCE

After 40 years of circling in the desert, the Israelites finally arrived for the second time in Kadesh. They are a generation that was under 20 years old on the first occasion that happened in the past decades. Now, they will enter the Promised Land with their children, while their parents have perished in the wilderness.

It teaches two things to us:

From those who eventually die in the wilderness we learn that THERE ARE DIVINE MOMENTUM WILL NOT COME TWICE IN THIS LIFE. Therefore if God commands something for us to do, let’s immediately obey and believe it even though it seems impossible. Because if we reject it, we may miss it forever.

On the other hand, from this story we affirmed that THE GOD’S GRACIOUS HANDS IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE FOR HIS PEOPLE. The Israelites had failed at the first chance, but God gave them the second chance. This means we always have the reason to hope. “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverb 23:18)

Then, how should we behave when God grants us a second chance? Let’s learn from the preaching of Moses to the generation that will enter Canaan in DEUTERONOMY 9: 1-6.

There are THREE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGES to us:

First: HEALING FROM THE TRAUMA (Verses 1 – 2)

Hear, O Israel. You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “WHO CAN STAND UP AGAINST THE ANAKITES?”

The Anakites are the ones who on the first chance ago have terrified the Israelites. The Israelites also have a history of losing the battle against them. The Anakites are a scourge and a bad memory for Israel, so among them there is a thought: “WHO CAN STAND UP AGAINST THE ANAKITES?” The meaning behind that statement is “No one can stand up against the Anakites.” The fact that the enemies of Israel are the people who  greater and taller than them, with the cities are large with the wall upto the sky, made the Israelites see an impossibility to win. But … to enter the Promised Land, God commanded the Israelites to fight against them. This means they must RESOLVE THE TRAUMA AND DARE TO FACE ALL THE IMPOSSIBILITY IN THE FUTURE.

Trauma can be a hindrance to enjoying the noble things God has provided for us in the future because trauma binds our hearts to the past. Trauma makes it hard to believe that with God we can overcome challenges greater than us. Therefore we must solve it.

If there is past event that when we remember that our hearts become injured again, depressed by excessive regrets, , and always afraid and worry if it happens again. That’s the trauma. There is only one way, come to Jesus who is able to set us free. Forgive if anyone should be forgiven, including forgiving ourselves. Do not let failure be a burden that hinders our steps toward the future, but make it a valuable lesson.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

God does not want us to escape reality. God wants us to be HEALED AND RESTORED. Past mistakes or failures can not be changed, but God is able to change our future. It begins with our decision today to come to Jesus and lay the burdens of our hearts upon Him: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The time we are free from the trauma, there is nothing that stifles our steps to walk with God and through all our future impossibilities with Him.

Second: GOD IS WITH US (Verse 3)

But be assured today that the Lord your GOD IS THE ONE WHO GOES ACROSS AHEAD OF YOU LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.

The Lord reveals Himself to His people as THE ONE WHO GOES ACROSS AHEAD OF YOU LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE.

GOES ACROSS AHEAD OF HIS PEOPLE: This shows that He is the God who gives direction and leads us to the goal. A guarantee that our journey will surely succeed whatever happens.

“who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.” (Deuteronomy 1:33)

“The LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land.” (Deuteronomy 31:3a)

GOD LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE: It states that He is a jealous God: “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, A JEALOUS GOD.” (deuteronomy 4:24) As a jealous God, He accompanies and protects us as His own. On the other hand, He wants to be the only God in our lives. Therefore don’t turn to other gods. Be faithful and follow His lead, then the Lord will lead us to His triumphal path.

Third: DON’T BOAST YOURSELF (Verse 4 – 6)

After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, DO NOT SAY TO YOURSELF, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS OR YOUR INTEGRITY that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, then, that IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.”

The Israelites won over their enemies not because Israel was great in war, but because of the wickedness of the enemies themselves. Therefore there is a warning from God: “Don’t say to ourselves that all because of our righteousness and our integrity”. Boast ourselves, though only in the heart, is tantamount to arrogant which also means stealing the glory of God. And why does the statement “It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity” is written more than once in this passage? Because human tendency is pride of himself and feel that every achievement because of their effort and hard work. Even we as children of God can also feel all the blessing we receive is because we are living righteously, already diligently serving, praying, fasting, reading the word of God, and doing other righteous things. That isn’t pleasing God’s heart. That’s why from now on if our life is successful, don’t connect that success with all the good and right things we have done, because it can make us become arrogant.

THE WAY TO THE SECOND CHANCE

From the story above we know how to respond when God takes us on the second chance: heals from the trauma, follows God’s lead, and does not boast about having succeeded. Now, what should we do to get a second chance?? Learning from the failed of Israelites at the first chance because of sin and rebellion so they must wander in the wilderness, there are two things we must do:

First: REPENTANCE. Sin is the separator between us and God. As a human, the child of God can still fall into sin. But if we continue to live in sin, we will not be able to do God’s will for us. Therefore let us ask for forgiveness and leave our sins immediately. God’s promise is: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

There is always a restoration in repentance and reconciliation with God. Jacob, Samson, Jonah, Peter, Paul, are some examples of people who had a second chance after their repentance.

Second: HUMBLE. When the Israelites failed at the first chance, God took them around in the wilderness. The goal is to humble them (Deuteronomy 8:2-3). If we want to get a second chance we must believe in God’s leading and follow His ways. All that requires humility, for only humble people are willing to obey and submit to the authority. “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Psalms 25:9)

More than that, every chance comes only from God. We can not force Him. He will give it according to His wisdom and omniscience about our lifetime. But as long as our heart is still beating, let’s hope for the second chance. And if the second chance is no more, at least we have cleared our hearts before God, healed and restored, so that we can freely worship Him and doing our best of every part God entrusts to us in the rest of the time we still have. Let’s learn from Moses’ life about this. Moses had made a fatal mistake for hitting a rock in Meribah in Numbers 20: 2-13 which caused Moses and Aaron not allowed by God to enter Canaan. Moses prayed for grace to be allowed to enter and see Canaan, but God did not grant it. “…But because of you the Lord was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the Lord said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter…” (Deuteronomy 3:23-26) How’s Moses’ reaction?? He was not disappointed with God. He continued to serve the Lord and did his work thoroughly to the end. In Hebrews 3: 1-6 it is said “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,…” May this article strengthen us to do our best in every chance that God gives us, for God will count every one of our deeds. God bless you, amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Image source: www.pixelstalk.net   (Edit with Pixlr app)

You In The Eyes of God

 

At my parents’ new house in Paris, they used one room of the house as their private library. When I was helping them put the books on the shelf, I saw a small diary that written by hand writing “You in the Eyes of God” and there is my mom’s signature under the right corner on its cover. Don’t know why, I was tempted to saw the content of the diary. After I got permission from my mom to read her diary, at first I thought it was just a random thought of my mom but the more I read I became aware that the writing wasn’t just a random thought but rather to contemplation and it made my heart touched. My dear friend, this evening I love to share what my mom wrote about. Here it is…

You in the eyes of God

If Jacob saw Joseph as a good child,

If in the eyes of his ten brothers, Joseph was a useless dreamer

 If in the eyes of Midianite traders looked Joseph as a slave

If Potiphar saw Joseph as wise man, and as a lover in the eyes of Potiphar’s wife

In the eyes of God Joseph was an Egypt young king candidate.

 People could look you with the different point of view and assessment. So it is with God. God has His own way to see you through His eyes. God said,

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

When you are disparaged by people around you, don’t be discouraged, don’t be disappointed, and don’t be sad, because God has His own way and reason how He sees and judges you. Only God knows who you really are.

If God wants and wills,

 An office boy in your office could be a CEO in your own company.

God could make nothing to be something, impossible to be possible

And,

He doesn’t care about your age. God blessed Abraham in his very old age.

He doesn’t care about your ability. God chose Moses as Leader of Israelites

He doesn’t care about your experience, He chose David a young shepherd as a King of Israel

He doesn’t care about the gender, He chose an orphan, Esther, as a queen

He doesn’t care about someone who have dark past, Paul had dark past but God chose him.

God doesn’t care about one’s social status. God choose a hated person, corruptor, traitor of the Nation, and sinner. God was choosing Zacchaeus’ house to stay.

How people look you, it doesn’t matter. How God looks you, it does matter.

In the eyes of God,

You are Father’s child

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)

You are the precious and Honor in the God’s sight, and loved by God.

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you… (Isaiah 43:4)

You were redeemed by God, belongs to God

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

 You are protected by God

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2)

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. (Psalm 121:5)

You are no longer a servant, but God’s friend.

 I no longer call you servants; Instead, I have called you friends. (John 15:15)

You are set by God

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

God has wonderful plan for you

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)

You are who will always get the fulfillment of God’s promise

…not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. (Joshua 23:14)

You are who always get God’s help in the midst of the hard times

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)

You are who always receive every of your prayers in the Name of God

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)

You were chosen by God with a special task. Bear fruit!

… But I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit (John 15:16)

After I read my mother’s writing I hug her and said, “Mom, thank you for this important reminder” then she said, “Finally you read it now.  Please always keep it in your heart and mind. When people degrade you, doubt your ability, or even maybe assume that you’re nothing, please remember that in the eyes of God you are so special because God created us in a special way. God ended His work with a “personal touch” God formed us from the dust of the earth and gave us live by breathing His own breath. And remember this; we also created in His likeness so we may rule over the other creatures. But don’t ever underestimate people around you for you don’t ever know what God’s plan to those around you. Be good always, my dear princess”

My Dear readers, not only for me, I hope and pray this post could be a reminder and strengthening for all of us. In the eyes of God we’re special. People might don’t like us, maybe we’re worthless in the eyes of human, but in God we’re precious, honored, and loved. Amen

Karina – Living by faith

“You in the Eyes of God” by Rebecca Fong

Image source: Google Images.

 

Teach Me To Hear You More

Hello my dear friends!! How’s your doing?  First of all,  on behalf of my family, let me wish you a Merry belated Christmas and Happy New year! I am so happy and excited could come back again to the blog after more than a month didn’t active do blogging. My dear readers, this’s my first post of this new year and I start with a short poem that I wrote when I was in flight from Paris to home. I hope this poem could inspire all of us. Thank you and God Bless.

Dear, Lord in Heaven…

For this New Year,

I do not pray for happiness, prosperity,  an abundant wealth,

Or another temporarily worldly things.

I also do not pray to understand the way you lead and guide me

But I just ask and pray to teach me more to do the things pleaseth you in all of my life

Teach me to hear you more, dear Lord.

 I want to know more Your loving guidance voice

and let me walk through my day just with You and Your word and voice.

Teach me to swift to hear and keep trust and obey every single of Your command

A new year I begin will be a happy year when I always hear Your more,

By faith, I always choose and trust to every single way you will make,

 and I always to do the things that pleaseth You.

My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.

(Song of Songs 2:14)

You who dwell in the gardens  with friends in attendance, let me hear your voice!

(Song of Songs 8:13)

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)

See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness  and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19)

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

Karina – Living by faith

Music scoring by Sandra Clarita