Archive | August 2014

Living in Humility

Living in Humility -Karina's thought-Paul Militaru

 

Some time ago when I was walking around in the shopping mall accidentally I met an old friend when was in college. I am so excited met her because been many years I have not hear news about her. Afterwards we were deep in exciting conversation. We were talk about many things. But after a while, I felt there was something different from her. I heard sound of arrogance in every of her words.  There was her sayings that really show her arrogance when we talked about business, “If you have a problem in business, you can come to me for help. Now with the position and authority that I have, I can do anything. I can change everything from impossible become possible!”

Honestly I  really sad to saw her changed drastically. I knew her very well before.  A meek young college girl even there was an impression of inferiority. But now she totally changed become an arrogant and snobby woman. Even worse, it seems she was not aware of the changes that happened to him. He felt all she did was reasonable. My husband said to me, “That’s one of the human weaknesses. Many people when they have a great success they could change drastically. When they have high position and powers, they turned out to be an arrogant person. They are forget that it all just a blessing from God”

Of what happened with my friend, I am increasingly aware why in the Christian life God many times advised us to always being humble and always live in humility. As God through Paul advised the Ephesians,

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

 To the Philippians God advised,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3)

And to the Colossians God said,

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ( Colossians 3:12)

There are many more advice to always be humble, and this is very important because  “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6)

I am reminded of the story of Joshua when he wanted to lead the Israelites to cross the Jordan. (Joshua 3:1-17) God spoke to Joshua before entering the Jordan,

“Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.” (Joshua 3:7)

After Joshua receive God’s message, he was immediately conveyed it to the Israelites. Let us pay attention to what Joshua said to the Israelites, he said,

This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites (Verse 10)

Please note, Joshua did not say, look, today you all will see how the Lord rearing my name, exalt me among you  …” Joshua did not say, “Here I am! I am the chosen, higher than all of you, and if you survived it all that because of me.”  Not at all! What Joshua said is,” This is how you will know that the living God is among you…” When I pondering this story I found and see Joshua’s humility. Joshua remains being humble because he was fully aware that it is not because his great or strong power Israelites would have crossed the Jordan, but because of God’s care. Joshua focused not on himself but to God. The focus is only to the God that glorified in all things have ever, is and will happen. Joshua did not take over of what is become God’s right. Furthermore, Joshua also explained in detail how they should to cross (Verse 11-13), and that he did to show that what will happen is not a simply coincidence, or not because of the greatness of Israel or himself, but because there is the power of God that works to protect and save them.

Now let we look at a story which opposite with the story of Joshua. Let’s see to the story of Korah. Initially, Korah was a quite influential leader at the time when the Israelites came out from Egypt. As with other Levites, Korah trusted to do the work in the tabernacle of the Lord and has a duty to serve the people. With such a status Korah automatically got a higher trust compared the other Israelites. It was such an honor and a big responsibility. Yet the fact was, Korah fell into the rebellion sin. He became oblivious to the essence of trust which God has given to him after success. He appreciates himself excessively and then fails to recognize the limits that God has set for him. He forgot to what became the line of his duty and he became arrogant.  He was plotting a rebellion.

And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: (Number 16:2)

Why did he rebel? Because he felt himself great above others and thirst for positions.  Then Moses rebuked Korah,

Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too (Numbers 16:9-10)

Arrogance made them forget that they are actually not opposed Moses and Aaron alone but God who has outlined immediately like what they have to walk. And what happens next was very fatal. The wrath of God came upon them and the destruction was befalling them.

And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. (Numbers 16:32-33)

Korah and his people eventually perish, down alive into the realm of the dead. It is God’s punishment for the people who are arrogant and dared against to God. And this is a warning to us not to be destroyed caused by our pride.

The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign. (Numbers 26:10)

In everyday life we could found those who extremely changed just because they reached great success, have a high position and authority, feel the most powerful and can do anything. As a Christian, when God blesses us with success and was entrusted with full authority whether we would to be like them change drastically become arrogant and forget the essence of the trust that has been given by God? Today we could learn from these two stories. Whether we want to be like Joshua who was always focused on God and not take over what is become God’s right? Remain humble because he was fully aware that it was not as great or strong his power the Israelites would have crossed the Jordan, but due to the God’s power. Or we want to be like Korah who appreciates himself excessively and become an arrogant person, thirst for the position and honor, wanted to go beyond the limits that God has set for him, and eventually just got God’s wrath?

My dearest friends, this time please allow me to encourage all of you to always remember that everything that we have is only from God alone. Success, position, honor, affluence, authority, it all is just because blessings from God. Always remember to not steal the God’s glory and do not snatch the right of God to boast ourselves as written in Jeremiah,

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Please always remember that we saved to save, we are blessed to be a blessing not to be a stumbling block. All of blessing that we have received is not use to boast ourselves but merely for the channel of blessings for others and just for God’s Glory. Without God we are nothing!

“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. (John15:5)

 Do not be oblivious and feel that we are the greater than other then forget and steal the glory which becomes God’s right. When we become successful  let’s keep it well, continue to being humble, bless others over and over again and continue to glorify God.  Do not feel we can do anything just because Intelligence, talent or expertise or even a chance to succeed are only comes from the God’s grace. Amen.

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! (Romans 11:36)

Karina – Living by faith

Photo by Paul Militaru http://photopaulm.com

 

 

 

 

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A True Love

True Love -Karina's Thought- Paul Militaru (2)

 

I begin this post with an old inspiring and touching story from China. There was an old grandfather named Bai Fang Li. He was living in Tianjin, China. What is interesting thing from this old man? The most interesting thing from him is even though he was live in shortage, he had has very rich heart. Poverty was not being a reason for him to keep giving to others. He was called to give donations to schools and universities in Tianjin city to help more than 300 poor children in order to able obtain an education for their future. Many years he was pedaling his rickshaw to get money in order to increase amount of his contributions.

He lived in an old and rusty hut in a slum area of the city where many rickshaw operators and garbage collectors live and he also lived without thinking of his own needs so that he could give more and more. Two raisin cakes and fresh water became his lunch menu and just a piece of meat or an egg for dinner. Regardless of weather conditions he was always pedaling his rickshaw from 6 am to 8 pm. “it is okay I am suffered”, but let that poor children can go to school “he said. When he was 90 years old, he realized that he was no longer able to pedal his rickshaw. His last saving that amounted five hundreds Yuan donated all to a school. He said, “I could not to pedal a rickshaw again. I cannot give a donation anymore. It might be my last donation that I could give” It was makes all teachers in that school crying. Three years later grandpa Li passed away in poverty. Yet, behind his poverty, during his lifetime he has been contributed a total of three hundred and fifty thousand Yuan. He devoted his life fully to help poor children who could not afford to school. What an inspiring story, right?

Now, what is the message of the inspiring story for us as Christians?  In the midst of the world which centered on self-interest, where the caring to others getting scarce, what was done by grandpa Li pointed out that there are still people who have a noble heart  more than a gold in this world. He was still loves and care to others though he lived in poverty. I called it “A True Love”

Apostle Paul describes love so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Depiction of love in those verses so beautifully summarized by grandfather Li’s action. His contribution was not just limited by sympathy words but all real embodied through the sacrifices that he did for the sake of helping those children who did not have opportunity to get an education. I wonder, from the billions of people in this world, how many grandpa Li who care about each other and willing to sacrifice just for helping others? A poor man like grandpa Li wanted to do it, while many rich people just sat quietly does not have concern for the people around who really need help.

Holy Bible said, Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18) Grandpa Li did it so beautiful through the concrete action even in the midst of his poorness. He was not being a selfish or just thinking about himself but he even willing to sacrifice all-out until the last of his strength to help other. He also did all of that was not solely to seek popularity or honored by people. I think, for him have a decent life is more important than having popularity! Please remember he was just a very old rickshaw driver. He really had a sincerity and true love to helping each other.

Grandpa Li was gone but his devotion will continue to be remembered by millions people in this world. I am convinced despite physically he suffered, but his heart happy to be able to do something for others. He realized that it would be happier if can give rather than receive.

…‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Act 20:35)

After I read and ponder this inspiring story, I conclude that there are some important things that we could get from this inspiring story and I called it as the value of true love.

First, Initiative! True love has an initiative. This poor old man has initiative express his love by reaching out his hand to help others. It is same with God.  God loves us not in a passive ways. He not just waiting us to love Him first but God directly reached out His hand to express His love to us with a very beautiful ways. John said,

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Furthermore, Paul said,

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

The second, beside has an initiative, grandpa Li was active in order to could express his love to others by working tirelessly pedaling his rickshaw. He not expresses his love just by his words but also by action as it is written in 1 John 3:18.

Third, grandpa Li has a great caring to others interests. He realized that there are hundreds poor children need help and threatened could not school and get a proper education. God’s word reminds us to not merely attach great importance to our own need and interests, but also pay attention to others needs and interests.

Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:4)

Be emphasized again in 1 John 3:17,

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

Fourth, sacrifice! This is a thing that quite difficult to do. Jesus said,

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

Not only with words but directly Jesus proved to be willing to give his life for the mankind salvation by dying on the cross. And this is then followed by His disciples willing to sacrifice their life just for proclaim God’s word to all over the world. Not many people are willing to sacrifice to help others while he himself lives in hardship. This old poor man was doing this thing so beautiful. He was willing to sacrifice for the sake of helping others. He was willing to lived in the slums and eat potluck so he could save his money.

My dear readers, it is so easy we say that we have love. But the question is what kind of love? Are we having true love that has initiative? Whether we have an active love that accompanied with action? How big our concern to others interests? And are we willing to sacrifice to others? Whether in everyday life we have to apply the principles of love as God wants? This evening I would like to encourage you to learn from this inspiring story. Let the story of grandpa Li could be a model for us to express the true love to others. We may not like grandpa Li who really live in poverty, so let us have an initiative to give  what we  could give to helping each others who in need. Do not be discouraged and ashamed if not be able to give much as long as we give with sincerity. God does not look at how much that we can give but rather to look our sincerity, our willingness to sacrifice and truly based on true love. God really appreciate to those who are willing to sacrifices to give in the shortage.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)

 Suppose that we could not help people in the form of matter, we can help others in another form such as giving a tender smile and a warm hug to our friends who are in grief, spend our time to giving encouragement to people who are discouraged, or put them in our prayer list, and maybe just do very simple daily things such as say “hello” and asking “how are you. Are you okay?” It all will give a big impact to others. Let’s pray to God ask for the strength, wisdom and have a sensitive heart to the others difficulties so we always could express our true love to others.  Let us pray that true love remain thrives in our lives and keep it warm because we live in the world where wickedness is increased. As Jesus reminds us, Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Matthew 24:12) and let us could be a window for those people around us to know and experience God’s love through our true love. Amen.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (I John 4: 7-8)

Karina – Living by Faith

For the detailed story and photos of Bai Fang Li click here

I wish to thank you to Paul Militaru for the awesome and beautiful picture

Photo by Paul Militaru  http://photopaulm.com

 

TOUGH HEART AS A DIAMOND (Posted in bahasa “KUAT BAGAI BERLIAN”)

Are we have strong and unwavering heart so we could fave any problem, challenges and temptations in our life? This post is very good reminder to all us that we need to have strong and steadfast heart like a diamond. Worth to read!

Beautiful Words

Tough heart as a diamondHeart is one of the most important areas in our lives. Even the first step of our Christianity journey, begins by opening the doors of our hearts for Jesus.

Once the importance of all things about heart so that God gives thousands verses and many examples of Bible figures successfulness and failures because of their heart manner.  About David, we all know that David was once fall into the murder and adultery sin when indirectly he killed Uriah then took Bathsheba as his wife. But why in Acts 13:22 God called David a man after his own heart? Because when Nathan rebuked him regarding his sins, David had a tender heart (Psalm 51). It was same with Moses. Specifically, bible wrote that Moses was a very meek and humble man more than every mankind over this world (Numbers 12:3). Conversely, which makes most of the Israelites coming out of Egypt…

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