Archive | July 2014

~A Living Faith~

A LIVING FAITH -Karina's Thought

 

Few days ago one of my close friends asked me to meet. She wanted to share her business problems and it was giving me an idea to write something. She really got a very hard time and situation in her business. She faced a problem that came consecutive. One problem has not been solved, there is another problem was waiting behind.  Even worse, she felt so difficult to find the way out for any of their problems. She felt like in the middle of very tight wall where there is no a loophole at all to get out and seems there is no one could help. Began to desperate, chaotic, lost its direction and hope, and sadly she starts thinking to try the ways that not supposed to do.

My beloved readers, whether you have experienced the same situation with my friend? I do believe that we all have experienced the same situation or maybe even heavier than my friend. In the life that getting difficult day by day, the problem increasingly feels closer to us and easily hit our lives.  One question arises, when the world goes against us, when all the circumstances aren’t like what we expected, when we feel like giving up because there seems to be no hope anymore, where would we go? In a weakened state, confused and lost its direction, we could easily be tempted to take the wrong roads that not solve the problem but instead will add a lot of our problems list. So where would we go and what would we do?

This time I would like to ask you to learn from one of the Bible story. Let’s take a look at the story of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus who met Jesus in Jericho. This encounter brought the great restoration in his life. Because his condition is blind, he cannot work. So to survive he became a beggar on the roadside. One day Jesus was passing not far from where he begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47) Bartimaeus was just a blind beggar. For many people there, he was considered too contemptible, impolite, and improper shout to Jesus. Then the people rebuked him. But he did not give up, falter or desperate and not stop shout to Jesus; Bartimaeus even lift up his voice. He realized that it was a great opportunity. He still did not care what people said to him. His faith encouraged him to strengthen his hope. He convinced and trusts that God’s power and miracle will works on him.

Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Verse 48)

Then finally Jesus stops and said to the disciples to call Bartimaeus. He immediately took off his robe and hurried toward Jesus. Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”(Verse 51)

There was something interesting from bartimaeus’ answer. He did not ask for the wealth, honorable status in the eyes of the society, an abundant blessing and so on. He did not say “God restore my whole life so I can live well today.” He did not complain to Jesus because he was not valued and despised by many people. He really knew that the base of his problem is blindness. If he could see, he would not need to become a beggar again and be able to work normally for life. With eyes which functioned very well he could get his life back, retracing gradually to get a better life. He could try to use his talents that he had to live worthy. Then Jesus healed him with a word, Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Verse 52)

What heals bartimaeus? Let’s take a look to Jesus’ words, “Your faith has healed you.” Yes! Faith heals Bartimaeus’ blindness. When I ponder this part, I got something important lesson from Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus has a living faith where there is power of trust and hope in it and has a spirit to seek and find. He knew where and to whom he should seek. His faith does not depend on human logic, which did not depend on what people say. He knew his faith is not located on the people opinions but merely a connection or relationship between himself and God. Bartimaeus hold fast to it. We do not know how long he suffered blindness and should be outcasts as beggars on the streets. When he met Jesus, he believed that he found the right person who will bring a restoration in his life. His faith moved him to trust that Jesus will and be able to heal him.  He did not remain silent; he proved his faith with action. He did not care and affected by people who rebuked him, he still shouted to Jesus. This is an important lesson that we can get from Bartimaeus. Faith must be accompanied by actions.

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:22)

Faith can move God to do miraculous things in our lives. Faith is required in order to receive a blessing and a miracle from God. However, this is become a problem. In our daily lives, it is so easy for us to say that we have faith, but in practice oftentimes we have not show that we have faith. How big and strong our faith will be seen through our reaction when we faced so many problems. Whether our faith, trust and hope still remain strong when we have not seen God’s help and we still have not get the answer of our prayers. Holy Bible reminds us so precisely about faith,

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

Faith plays an important role in order to be successful accepting miracles from God to answer every of our problems. Although the problems that afflict us seems having no way out, there is no solution, as if we trapped in the big and tight wall, faith always be able to move God’s hand to do something to restoring us and there is nothing impossible. As Jesus said,

“…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”(Matthew 17:20)

To those friends who are currently facing hard problems like my friend, allow me this evening to encourage you to learn from Bartimaeus. Let’s imitate what he did. Though outwardly he was blind, but his spiritual eyes are not blind. He has a living faith accompanied with full of hope, trust and not based on what he see. Bartimaeus could not saw Jesus made miracles, he only heard from people who talk over about Jesus. But he really believes that Jesus will make a miracle to him.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:17)

We might physically could not see and find the ways out for our problems, we might see that everything seems so dark and closed tightly, but let we see every problems with our spiritual eyes. Do not remain silent and just waiting. Our God is omniscient. God knows everything about our lives, both difficulties, suffering, and our needs. But God wants us to act! Bartimaeus action was one thing that attracted the attention of Jesus. Bartimaues has the living faith because accompanied with action.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)

 With a living faith come to our God, shout to Him and we will see what God’s response.

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (Psalm 34:6)

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.(Psalm 34:17)

Let us realize, fully trust and instill in our hearts and minds that there is no bigger problem than God’s power because our God is so great,

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. (Psalm 96:4)

Bartimaeus experienced a touch of God not only because God’s power works on him but he has great living faith. His mindset knew rightly how God’s personal is which have love, compassion and can do any miracle things. If God willing to heard and answered bartimaeus’ shout, God also will hear and answer our shout. Through a living faith, let us feel the touch of God, feel the power of God working resolve all the problems of our lives. Is like a plant which always needs fertilizer to grow and live healthily, as well as the quality of our faith. We must continue to fertilize our faith by maintaining our relationship with God to remain intimate through prayer, comprehend and ponder His word every day. Always ask for strength from God so that we can change our mindset from “See first then believe” to “believe first and then see” Just because we live by believing, not by seeing. (2 Corinthians 5:7) Amen.

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible. Corrie Ten Boom

 Related article:

 Without faith it is impossible to please God

 Activating your faith

Karina – Living by Faith

Photo credit: mightymustard.com

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The Whole New Creation

The Whole New Creation-Karina's Thought

 

Few days ago when I was gardening, suddenly there was a beautiful butterfly landed on my arm. Closely I watched its colorful wings. It was very, very beautiful. Along I looked to that butterfly, I pondered how amazing and wonderful God’s creation. Butterfly experienced four stages of metamorphosis before becomes a beautiful butterfly. Initially started from the eggs that hatch and give birth to larvae (caterpillars), which may be for many people especially women considered to be a disgusting thing. This caterpillar movement would easily make many people shudder in disgust when seeing or touching it. Then the caterpillar will change into a cocoon, and finally from the cocoon it will come out a beautiful butterfly. Gracefully the butterfly will fly showing its beauty. It is really change in total.
Another thing crossed to my mind. In our Christian living, Metamorphosis that occurs in the butterfly could we use as an analogy / simple model from a change in life. As Christians we change from the old person becomes a new one. I just thinking that indeed the changes that happen to us are no less amazing than the butterfly. When we accept Jesus, we experience a peace process with the Lord. We previously smeared with sins and do not deserve to be saved, now becomes feasible to accept the great salvation solely through the God’s grace and mercy, through the great redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Thus, when we are united with Christ, we also experienced a metamorphosis, totally becomes a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And all of it, once again, comes from God through Christ,

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (2 Corinthians 5:18)

We might previously such as disgusting caterpillars or larvae, now we have a great opportunity to be transformed into a beautiful butterfly with accepting Christ and baptism.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6: 4-5)

When we are baptized as a sign of obedience and our faith in Jesus, all our bad habits and all sin in the past is already death. We restored and transformed. Therefore we should no longer devote ourselves to sins, because the power of sin has been defeated.

 

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)

A question arises in my mind. In our everyday life, whether we have truly morphed and become a new creation? Have we really left our old life? Whether we already give an impact to others with our new life? And how we live our life as a new creation? In the difficult and tough world today, I often find and see the sad fact that there are many people claim to be Christians but in their daily lives do not reflect as the new creation. For a simple example, in the business world that I involved, I found many entrepreneurs who known as Christians still not reflect as a new creation. Without any sense of guilt and fear, they still compromise with worldly things which are contrary to what is supposed to do as a Christian and as a new creation just for the smoothness of their business sake. They justify the ways that are contrary to God’s command to get their business benefits as they expected. Very sad but that is the fact. They forgot or maybe even deliberately ignoring what God wants from us as a new creation. Paul emphatically said to the Romans,

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

This verse is very clear that God want us truly experience a metamorphosis which is granted by God, like what happened to the caterpillar up to become a butterfly. We have to change our lifestyle, outlook and mindset becomes a new one. If previously we do not know what is pleasing to God, now we know about it, and know what is perfect in God’s eyes. Changes are not just stop at the physical changes alone, but are also able to change what is within us. In the previous verse, Paul also asserted that it is important for us to get to the level where we deserve to give ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God,

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

Becomes transformed or in my analogy above described as metamorphosis is a beautiful and precious opportunity from God, we should be able to appreciate the amazing grace that God has given to us to live our life as a new creation. All has been bestowed by God to us. The problem is, do we want to make the decision to experiencing the process of becoming a butterfly or just stop being a caterpillar and cocoon only. Are we willing to leave our old life and starting a new better life. As when we wear dirty clothes, we have to throw the dirty clothes then we wear with the clean one. It is impossible if we wearing the new clothes without releasing the old and dirty clothes. Do we are willing and able to leave all of our old dirty lives and abandon all the habits and bad character as Paul said,

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5-6)

It used to be possible we indulge the various desires of the flesh as mentioned in those verses; maybe we even be controlled by it all. But as a new creation who experience a metamorphosis, we have to totally rid it all as it is written in Colossians 3:8-10,

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

On the other side, when we have truly experienced a total change into a new creation, it will enable us spiritually to be fruitful. We changed to become God’s child, to be a “chosen people, holy and beloved”, and in the form of a new creation we have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. (Colossians 3:12-13) We also put love as a binder in perfect unity. (Verse 14-15)
My beloved friends, let we think and ponder these; How our spiritual quality now? Whether we are thirsty and longing to be transformed totally into a beautiful butterfly or our metamorphosis just stop being a cocoon only? If we have really took off our “dirty clothes” or we are just wearing a new clean clothes but behind in it still lags behind the “dirty clothes” Have we totally put to the death all of our earthly nature? This evening, with all humility, I encourage you let’s together to do not waste the opportunity that has been given by God to be changed, Let us not waste the gift of God that we have received by returning to the deeds of our sins as in the past.

 

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

Let’s we win the spiritual warfare against the devil temptations, no longer to be a slave of sin, say goodbye to the darkness live, soon come into the God’s light, living in it and has a light of life.

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12)

We also have to always living in the unity of Spirit and remain walk in the Spirit.

 

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

Then we could become a beautiful butterfly that brings God’s grace, to be fruitful to those people around us, and finally people will call us as “The whole new creation” Are we willing to? Amen.
Karina – Living by Faith
Photo credit: http://www.sharefaith.com
Related article: http://astorybyme.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/butterflies-in-the-darkness/