Archive | March 2015

God’s Power Behind The Weakness

 

GOD'S POWER BEHIND THE WEAKNESS -Karina's Thought-Sue Nash

 

I begin my post this time with a short testimony about myself. Everyone who didn’t know me very well always said that I am a perfect woman. They said that I have inner and outer beauty, have an established life, have great charisma, and many more. Right now, unashamedly I am going to tell all of you that in fact, everything that they said about me was not entirely true. As a human being, I also have a weakness. I have congenital defect. Since age of 3 months, I have impaired hearing function. As a result, to remain be able to hear I have to use a hearing aid until now. This is what I mean as my weakness. No matter how sophisticated the hearing aid that I use, it still has limitations. I am still not being able to hear sound very well like others who have normal ears. There are specific sound frequencies that I couldn’t hear very well. A high tech hearing aid still cannot replace the perfect natural hearing instrument that created by God. When I have to accept the fact should use a hearing aid, another serious problem comes. I had low self-esteem problem. I am embarrassed because I felt different with other children. I felt different because to hear well I have to use hearing aid. Then I was isolating myself from my neighborhood. At that time, I felt my body is incomplete. Though I have ears but I felt didn’t have it because not functioned properly. This problem was continued until few years.

Fortunately, I am grateful to God to have parents who always incredibly encouraged me. Patiently they gradually can evoke my self confidence and took me out from my of inferiority problem. Until now I still remember very clear what my father said to me: “You may have a disability, you may not be able to hear normally like everyone else. But I have to tell you that you don’t need to be ashamed. Because why? Remember and always bear in your heart and mind that you are still God’s perfect creation. You were created by the creator of the whole world. One day you will see many people who have worse disability than you but God gives them another great ability and they still have a spirit to run their lives. You will see that they still can do great things. You aren’t totally deaf, you just cannot hear very well but it also has been overcome by using a hearing aid. You still can walk normally, speak normally, your brain and mind still functioned properly. You still can clearly see how wonderful God’s creation. And one more important thing is, there is God’s power and blessings behind the weakness. God is righteous. Behind your weaknesses there is a wonderful plan that He has provided for you. Just believe it and you will feel it”

My dear friends, here we talk about human weakness. I do believe that many people in this world have a weakness, whatever it is. Maybe we have physical weakness such as has a disability like me. We may have mental weaknesses like trauma, emotional instability, paranoid, or maybe we have intellectual and intelligence weakness and that weaknesses raises serious problems. We could be of inferiority, introvert, touchy, and difficult to develop self-esteem. We also tend to always focus on our weakness and doubt the abilities that actually we have. If we look at the Bible, there are several events that illustrate the lack of confidence to do things in accordance with the God-given task. The reasons such as physical weaknesses and limitations, too young, and other reasons that made them doubted their own ability.

I take an example, Moses. When Moses was sent by God to go to Pharaoh, he was no longer young and felt that he had a weakness. Let’s see the dialogs of Moses and God in Exodus 3: 11 -14 (NIV).  These dialogues were clearly reflected that Moses doubted his own ability. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Verse 11) Then God said: “I will be with you…” (Verse 12) Still not quite sure, Moses asked again and then with a very firm God said: I am who I am,{b} and I will be what I will be.” (Verse 14)

Though God has been said so firmly, the mist of doubt still covered his eyes and heart so he could not clearly catch the point of God’s answer. Then he said: Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10 NIV) Here, Moses spoke about his physical weakness and limitations. But let’s see what the God’s answer: “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”(Exodus 4:11-12 NIV) Perhaps it was true that Moses had a weakness in speaking. Moses was not an orator or a politician who is fluent in speaking. He is also not a good poet. But Moses forgot one thing which becomes important thing: Not due of his capability, but only by the God’s power that makes him capable.

Now back to myself for a moment. The encouragement word that had ever given by my father long time ago was so true. There is God’s power and love behind my weakness. Honestly, I really feel it until now. I feel how great God’s love and power within my disability. Though I have a hearing disability, actually God gave me another great ability. Doesn’t mean I am bragging, God gave me acuity of intuition, instinct, and very high sensibility in analyzing and solving a problem. I felt this way when I was 14. I am very sensitive to anything that might be causing the problem and if the problem really happened, I already know and prepared to solve it. God also gave me ability in read people’s mind only by looking the ways they talk. I am not saying that I have sixth sense or supernatural ability, but this is what I feel and I strongly believe all of that are only gifts from God. And later, these gifts are very useful to support my work. I am very grateful to God for such the great gifts and blessings and I felt these gifts could cover up my weakness that already becomes a burden for many years. That is why in my “About me” page, I mentioned that I am just an ordinary woman but with an extraordinary blessings from God. I realized that behind my physical weakness and limitations God’s power really works to enable me to run my big responsibility. This means that in doing something, actually not because of my capability but God’s power can make me capable to doing great work.

I more realized that I didn’t need to be ashamed, of inferiority, and trying to hide my weakness. Through my weakness and limitations, I can even feel how great God’s power and love. God’s power made perfect within my weakness. I remembered one great figure in the Bible, Paul. We all already know Paul’s background but we also know very well who he is after God incredibly changed him. He remarkably used by God to did evangelism to everywhere. And the interesting thing is, behind his great ministry, Paul realized that there were times where he felt weak, fear, trembling, and he wasn’t ashamed to confess his weakness. He said to the Corinthians:I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.” (1 Corinthians 2:3 NIV) Furthermore, in his ministry journey, Paul once felt bothered with his weaknesses but God said: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) Paul finally realized that it wasn’t his ability that becomes important thing, but because God alone that make him able and then he came to the conclusion that: “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV)

My beloved readers, I exactly don’t know what kind of weaknesses you have. But today, as a person who have a weakness, allow me to encourage all of us, if we have weaknesses and limitations, either physically or psychological, please don’t be ashamed, discouraged, feel inferior, or trying to hide it. Always remember that God can use our weaknesses, inability, and incompleteness. God will fulfill us with His power to being able doing many great things behind our weaknesses. Perhaps, from our point of view we aren’t quite able to do something great but please remember if God wills, everything will be happens. There is nothing impossible before God. In the bible there are many stories that prove God did not use those who had an extraordinary capability. But God can use shepherds, Christian’ slayer, from children to the elderly, sinners, tax collector, fisherman, prostitutes, and  extraordinarily God changed them  and  wonderfully use them as a channel of His blessings. Let’s always remember that: God is righteous! Behind our weaknesses God bless us with other abilities that can cover up our weaknesses. We just need to be more observant and sensitive to explore other abilities that have given by God. Don’t let weaknesses steal our attention to other abilities that actually we have. Otherwise, if we feel that we completely don’t have any weaknesses, be grateful and don’t boast before God. (1 Corinthians 1:29 NIV)

Within our weaknesses, let’s come to God and hear his heart wishes. We will continue grow in strength, zest, and joy if we keep build close relationship with our Father in Heaven. Let the God’s power works within our weakness and limitation. Our weakness isn’t the end of everything. Bear in our heart that God ready to show His perfect power upon our weaknesses.  Always remember that God did not create us in vain, or deliberately make us suffer. God has a wonderful plan for all of us. Remain be grateful and let’s prove that God’s power is able to change everything, even within our weaknesses and limitations. Let’s stop to only focus on our weaknesses and don’t let us drown in it, admit it, and feel how God’s power will be able to shine upon our weaknesses. God amazingly blessed us with another great ability. He is able to use us to declare His glory and God’s power will perfect in our weakness. Amen.

Karina – Living by Faith

Photo by: Sue Nash. https://heavenlyraindrops.wordpress.com/

{B} Bible gateway footnote

 

 

 

Advertisements

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