Archive | February 2015

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

 

 

Advertisements

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!

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.

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 post 366 more words