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

Image source: 1zoom.net

 

 

A Living Letter of Christ

A LIVING LETTER OF CHRIST2-Karina's Thought

 

Last week I got a surprise! My father in Hong Kong sent me a letter. I felt a bit strange. Not as usually he wrote a letter. Beside talk several things, it is written at the end of his letter, “I am so sure you will have a question why I sent you a letter. My dear, may this letter become a reminder.  I strongly believe  you still remember  one thing  that related  with the letter “

My mind immediately drifted away to many years ago when I was teen. Yes of course I always remember about a letter. At the time, I just had a problem with my parents and starting to moving forward and letting go my bad past.  My parents gave me words that later on will totally change my life. “ You are a letter of Christ” still strong remembered in my mind what he said, “World can be knows  about God through how we live our life.  We are are a letter or book of Christ who represent God’s character and His righteousness. If our way of life is right, then the truth of God will shine from us. Otherwise if we claim to be followers of Christ but our lives contrary to what God wants, then we just become a stumbling block and scorn before others. We are an open letter of Christ who could be so obvious seen and read by people around us. Therefore, we have to be a testimony that can reflects a figure of Christ through our attitude and deeds”

As a God’s child we actually are a letter that fraught of Christ’s writing, not written by an ink but with the God’s spirit, and written directly in our heart. As Paul wrote epistles to the Corinthians,

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

(2 Corinthians 3:3)

A letter written by God’s spirit

I once read an article said that in 1991, nine pieces letters of Mark Twain the author of Tom Sawyer to his daughter sold for US$ 33.000. A piece of his daily letter could be sold for US$ 1,200 to 1,500. We may not have Mark Twain’s letter but in fact we have a set of priceless letters than Mark Twain’s letter and we are the letter itself that written not by an ink but with the Holy Spirit and also not written on the ordinary papers but direct on our heart. We are not just a daily letter; we are the special and priceless letter that contains magnificent stories about Jesus Christ.

A letter that brings the light

Besides reflecting a figure of Christ, as a letter of Christ, we are also a letter that can bring the light to the world as just Christ is the light of the world. As follower of Christ, we are called to be a light that brightens the “hidden corner” and brings many people to enter into the God’s glory.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.(Matthew 5:14 -16 NIV)

A letter that be a witnesses

We are also should to be witnesses of Christ to the whole world as it says in the book of Acts,

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)

This is Jesus’ last message before He ascended to the Heaven. He describes in detail the steps that we have to do to be a witness. The initial step is in Jerusalem first, that refers to the environment or the city where we live. Then from there we move to the larger scope that is the whole of Judea, talk about the nation or state, and Samaria, describing other nations outside of Christian from there finally we reach the final stage, namely to the ends of the earth.

A letter that brings love and hope

For God loves us, every aspect and side of our lives it is proper to be a paper that used by God’s pen strokes to proclaim His greatest love to this world. So that people will read and know how great God’s love to us until He willing to gave His only son poured His blood on the cross.

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

Today, there are so many people around us lost their hope.  As a letter of Christ we have to show that if we life in God, there is always hope no matter how difficult our lives today. As written in The Holy Bible,

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5 NIV)

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, (Hebrews 6:19 NIV)

A letter that reflect the glory of Christ

Our lives should reflect the glory of God and we shall be transformed into the same with His image. When Moses came down from Mount of Sinai after he spoke with God, his face was shone reflects God’s glory.

…, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was. (2 Corinthians 3:7 NIV)

Paul said that we can get great glory if we have a very close relationship with Christ and we will be like Christ because we are transformed by the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

(2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)

Now our problem is in our daily lives, have we become a true letter of Christ that always shows the figure of Christ, brings the light to the world, being a letter that tells the story of God’s love and hope, and reflect the glory of Christ? Or just the opposite, our lives only become a stumbling block, mockery, or even we are like a Christians who become a hindrance to people who wants to know more about Christ just for the trivia reasons? Mahatma Gandhi once had a rather hurts experience when he rejected to get into the church just because the differences of skin tone (Racial differences). He once said: “Suppose Christianity just like a sermon on the mount, and then I already become a Christians. But because the live of Christians I do not want to be a Christian” Friedrich Nietzsche who really hate Christianity said, “I will believe in their (Christian people) salvation if they are a little more looks as Christians who have been saved

My dear friends, what about us now?  Whether every single deeds and word  that came out from our lips has been reflect a letter of Christ? Or even without we realized we already disgrace the holiness of the letter that written by Holy spirit? Today, let’s we look back to ourselve and ponder again how our spiritual life quality. Just be a realsistic. In this difficult era it is not so easy to remain become a trully letter of Christ. In everyday  lives we always face so many problems, challenges, and also the world temptations that could weaken our faith and make us fall into the sin. Therefore, it is very important to us to always guard our heart in order not to conflict with Christ personality.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverb 4:23 NIV)

This verse firmly and clearly describes that everything radiated form us is came from our heart. And what was written in our heart will surely determine what people will read through our attitude and deeds. By always guard our heart then we will reach a level that God wants that is become a perfect.

Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48 NIV)

Let’s together guard our heart by always fill our heart with God’s word and do His commands because His words is a light as  a compass that direct us to the right path so we will not lost in the darkness.

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

We should to always hear and learn about God’s word because it is a practical foundation to us as a Christians. If we remain seriously learn about God’s word  we will more fear to God for we will know and understanding more about His will.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)

We also have to remains maintaining the intimacy of our relationship with God through prayer and  always living in His spirit so there is no gap at all for Satan to come in and ruin our lives.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8a NIV)

My beloved readers, God’s Spirit does not leave meaningless rough streaks in our heart but He actually scraping His pen with beautiful writings that describes His mightiness and His wonderful love the world. We are not just  an ordinary letter. We are the open living letters  that in each pages represent God’s character who live in us. A beautiful and meaningful poem written by my sister Sue Nash will end this post. Let’s read and ponder together. Amen.

God’s Living Letters

Our hearts were cold, consumed with pride; 

Tablets of stone,no hope in sight.

Our lives were marred; death’s curse did chide,

Until our script, God did rewrite.

***

No changes wrought, with how we tried, 

By striving hard, His laws to keep. 

So God engraved His Word inside, 

That from our hearts, His truth would speak.

***

Lost souls then stained, with sin’s dark dross, 

In need of help, deliverance.

Christ’s blood poured out, upon the Cross;

Our wrongs were purged, in one instance. 

***

God’s light now shines, His love does flow,

When as we yield and let Him lead. 

God’s hope we bring, His truth we sow,

For all of those who choose to read.

***

Our lives like scrolls for all to see,

God’s very own, parchments complete. 

No more of self, we’ve been set free,

To follow Christ, bow at His feet.

***

Amazed, how love loosed sin’s tethers;

That hearts like ours, God freely chose

Now born anew, like living letters,

Our lives emit salvation’s prose.

By Sue Nash/2015

Special thank you to Sister Sue for her beautiful poem.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: maeclair.net

Convinced Beyond Sight!

Karina Susanto:

God loves enough to keep giving us chance after chance to get it right. Miss a beat when influenced by Satan, and you may never get another chance to receive God’s forgiveness. Yes, I’m convinced beyond anything I know or see–no evil or wickedness in high places–The White House, the court house, or any other place, shall ever separate us from the Love of God! Our God Reigns victoriously and when we endure, standing firm on our faith in Him, we will see the victory! Amen! A Great post of my new blog friend Maryhallrayford. Worth to read and ponder.

Originally posted on maryhallrayford:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39 NIV)

How convinced are we of the truth of God’s Word? When I look at the things going in our society today, where it appears that Satan’s reign is winning against God, I begin to understand what Paul is saying.

I understand that our faith in God’s Word is not based upon what we see, but on what He says–no matter how things look.

It looks like those living in opposition to God’s Word are negating the rights of those who live according to The Word.

It looks like there are judges who do not understand their…

View original 366 more words

Don’t Look Back… Moving FORWARD

DO NOT LOOK BACK-Karina's Thought

I was inspired to write this post when my husband watched a sprint race on a TV sport program. I interested saw the sprinters who always on focus straight forward without being affected by their rivals on left or right side and even on the back. They kept focus get up to the finish line as fast as they can. I wondered what if during they ran, they always look to the back. Could they keep run fast? No. They could not. Looking back while running will slow down their running speed and can even make them fall. Eventually they failed to reach a victory.

I am thinking about our life. I found some people who always failed in their life. Has much praying and prayed by many people but still failed and difficult to rise back. Their life is static in all the limitations, even in shortage. They were life in God’s way, faithful and obedient to the God’s word. Does God does not bless them? Whether the God’s promises and blessings only apply to the some people or only for the chosen people? I am very sure not like that, because God’s promise and blessing applies to all people who believe and live in Him. Then the question is what the cause is? I remembered a story of lot’s wife when the Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by God. From this story we could know what the cause is.

Actually, Lot’s wife is in God’s saving plan. It turns out she stopped walking and looked back. Then what happened? She turned into a pillar of salt.

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26)

Let’s focus on looked back. What is meant with looked back is controlled by the past, haunted by traumatic things, failure or pile of sins in the past and difficult to get out from the shackles of the past that continues to haunt them. In fact there are many people who are shackled with their past. There are also so hard to release bad habits in the past. As a result, they are constantly interrupted with the past and difficult keep on moving and grow in achieving successes. Their faith also becomes difficult to grow. Salvation that has been promised by God will be gone in vain because they still look back and haunted by a dark past. Through two angels sent by God, God said,

“Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (Genesis 19:17 NIV)

Lot’s wife still difficult to forget everything he had in the Sodom city. She still wants her old life, her property and so on. She broke the God’s message. Once again, actually Lot’s wife is in God’s saving plan but she was ambiguous between wanted to survive but on the other hand it is hard to leave all comforts of her wealth in the back. Due to continue hesitated; she could not stand to not looked back, at least for the last time. This was a very fatal choice and finally she was accepting the consequence.

If we look at the story deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, we can find a similar thing. We can see how the people of Israel at that time repeatedly protested to Moses because they felt lose situation which they consider easier and comfortable, even though they only had a status as a slave in Egypt. Let’s see what they said,

The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3 NIV)

They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (Exodus 17:3 NIV)

They kept grumbling, complaining, nagging and strong protest against the rescue of God. They prefer to look back rather than directing foresight toward a promised land that full of God’s abundant blessings. We know the consequence that none of the early generation which made it into the Promised Land except Joshua and Caleb who have a different heart attitude.

In the New Testament, there was a story about those who wanted to follow Jesus but they chose to linger over and one of them said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” (Luke 9:61 NIV) Then what is Jesus’ answer? Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”(Luke 9:62 NIV) So obvious that People who are willing to go with Christ must be absolutely ready to leave their old life. Stop looking back. Or if not, then they are not worth before God. God desires each of us to go forward. He longs to pour out His blessings, but the shadow of the past often makes us always looking back, and thereby failed to receive the God’s promises.

Apostle Paul seemed to realize that humans have a tendency to always be in under the shadow of the past. So he needs to remind those who shackled in traumatic or bad things in the past.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

Paul gave an example, that although he had served God, he still had to focus to forget all the past, bad as anything, and focus on the goals to be achieved in the future.

We all have a past, whatever it is. The problem is how we treat our past especially when we have had a dark past. Whether we immediately forget it and keep moving forward? Or we just shackled and continue to allow ourselves to be haunted by our dark past so we difficult to move forward and eventually we will hard to accept the beautiful God’s promises? My dear readers, this evening allow me to once again to remind all of us that we cannot move forward if our life always haunted by our past. We need to truly understand that God loves us. He does not want us to live bound in sin, problems of life and traumatic thing of the past. Honestly, personally I once had a dark past.  And I always remember what my father said at the time, “it does not matter you have a dark past. Everyone has.  But there are two things you have to do.  Make your dark past as a valuable lesson, learn it so that henceforth you will not do over it again, and once you have learned and get something from your dark past, immediately remove it all from your mind, let it go and never look back again. The past will not destroy your future unless you let it. Your life is not just for the past. God already provides a bright future that filled with His Blessings. God provides a new hope to us who live in Christ. Let the past remains as the past. Do not make it all as a hindrance to undergo your future”

My dear readers, what about us now? Whether we are still in the shadows of the past that make us so hard to move forward? Or probably we know that a bright future awaits us, but our eyes and minds covered by the fog of the past so that it is hard to move achieve a beautiful future and hope which has been promised by God? Like whom we want to be? We want to be like a sprinter who always focuses forward, never looking back and will reach victory? Or we want to be like Lot’s wife who unwilling to let go her past, broke God’s message, choose a fatal choice, and brought her to perish? This time, allow me to encourage you to quickly get out from the shadow of our past and close the door of our past. Bury in deeply our past that may be dark and bitterly and start to look and move forward. Living in the shadow of the past will not give any benefits instead will lead us to the bitterness. We will lose of joy and new hope that has been provided by God. Stop looking back and reach beautiful God’s plan which full of peace and prosperous, living in abundance God’s blessings. Our lives probably not be better than our past, but let us remember that,

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

It’s time to let all your past go. Let’s stop looking back to the past, let’s move forward. God provides a new hope to us who live in Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

(2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

We could learn from our past, take some positive things from there but after that, we have to let our past go far away from our mind. Do not let our past haunt our life and become an obstacle so we difficult to move forward for the better future. I will end this post with questions to ponder together. Where we stand now?  Are we already on the future side and ready to open the door of bright opportunity to reach beautiful God’s promises? Or we still on the past side let its door remain open haunt our minds continually and we could not get anything there? Which one we will choose? The choice is yours. Amen.

 

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: writechangegrow.com

NOT JUST (A poetry for someone special)

Karina Susanto:

I am not just a candle on a beautiful chandelier, not just a beautiful fragrant white flowers, nor a beautiful words of wisdom. But I am definitely a daughter of our Father in Heaven who blessed by Him amazingly. I am just an ordinary God’s child but with an extraordinary blessings from Him. Thank you to God You gave me one more year to live this life with Your blessings, grace, compassion, and wisdom. Thank you for Your unconditional love.
On my Birthday today, I Got a special gift from my beloved sister in Christ Sella Irene. She wrote a beautiful poem as my birthday gift. Big thanks to sister Sella. May God bless you abundantly and always used by God to spread fragrance of God’s word through your awesome blog. To all my dear reader, please allow me again to encourage you to visit, follow and read her beautiful posts. Many blessings to all of you. I love you all.

Originally posted on BeautifulWords:

NOT JUST A poetry for someone special (1)

If like a candle… 

You are not just an aroma candle for ornament the royal banquet table for the kings

that radiate a light on  a grand silver chandelier.

 

But you also willing to light upon the wooden table in a modest hovel,

where your light is so meaningful there.

Willing to melt just for the sake of accompany a fatherless and motherless children  who are learning to reach their future.

If like a flower… 

You are not just an epitome of gracefulness and elegance.

 

But you are a clump of blooming white roses,

that grows in the garden of the each human heart who need love.

Spreading fragrance down to the hidden corner and brings tranquility in her tenderness.

 

If like a word… 

Your are not just the words of wisdom that engraved on the gold placard.

 

But your are HIS overt…

View original 179 more words