Archive | April 2015

Ditches in The Desert

DITCHES IN THE DESERT -Karina's Thought

 

Today, my morning activity in the office begins with an interesting conversation with my secretary. I didn’t know why she suddenly asked about this thing, “Ma’am, do you really believe in what is written in Luke 1:37?” My mind directly drifted to that verse. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” A bit difficult to answer this question. I could answer, Yes! Of course I strongly believe that nothing is impossible for God” but it only will be a stumbling block if my attitude and deeds at a later time not in accordance with my word. Then I try to answer its question carefully. I said, “I always pray ask for strength and wisdom to keep learning to believe everything that God says. I always open my ears wide to listening every of His word then I put it in the deepest of my heart as something absolute should to believe.”

My secretary question made me ponder deeply. As Christians we all surely know that there is nothing impossible to God. But the problem is how far we truly believe it? Have we applied it in our daily lives? How far our obedience to obey doing what God commanded, even when we have to do something that seems doesn’t make sense? In our daily lives, we found a lot of people that easily discouraged when confronted by adversity, moreover if our logic says that it is impossible to be overcome. Even worse, if we don’t believe in what we do, although we know that it is in accordance with God’s guidance. In that circumstance, we often forget one of God’s characteristic that He has unlimited power. We become doubt because we feel it is impossible to find the way out of our difficulties. Actually, if we want to spend some time to learn and contemplate what God says in the Bible, we will find a lot of events and the real examples of how God did many miracles which by human logic is very impossible.

Right now I will take all of us to look at one of the bible passage to convince us that there is nothing impossible for God. Let’s have a look to the book of 2 Kings 3. When the Israelites joined together with the nation of Judah and Edom for war against The Moab, they went through the desert of Edom and they were facing a very difficult problem namely couldn’t get the water after walking for seven days. (2 Kings 3:9) Let’s imagine, for a week without water in the middle of very hot and barren desert. They will be thirsty, dehydration, and very weak. How could they fight? Slowly but sure their body’s condition will getting weak. Fortunately, King Jehoshaphat realizes that they need guidance from God.” But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” (2 Kings 3:11 NIV) It turns out, there is Elisha the son of Shaphat there. Then Elisha asked one harpist to play.  “But now bring me the harpist” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha (2 Kings 3:15 NIV) Elisha was filled with God’s Spirit through the praise and worship of the harpist. Then Elisha Said: “Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.” (2 Kings 3:16 NKJV)

Once again, I ask all of us to imagine one thing. Supposing at that time we were there with them, what is our reaction when we hear what Elisha said? We have been thirsty and weak because already a week without water and now God commanded to make ditches in the barren and waterless desert. For what we make ditches if no water at all? Do we will obediently to do what God commands? Maybe we will laugh and said, “God, Are you joking?” Yet, actually God was not joking and He never makes a joke. He said:

“You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands.” (2 Kings 3: 17-18 NIV)

That was so true that there is no wind, rain, and maybe even not cloudy. Although it sounds very strange and illogical, if God had promised, God definitely will keep His promises. If we read this passage till the end we know that finally what God commanded to them was not in vain. God proves His words. Not only an abundant water but God even gave them a victory against the Moab.

Through this story we see that God proves that nothing is impossible for Him. God can do anything beyond our limited logic and thinking ability. Something unreasonable for us is reasonable for God. Made ditches in the desert is something difficult to accept by the common sense, but God in real made impossibility became something very possible, because:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” (Isaiah 55:8 NIV)

If this story were not powerful enough to convince us that indeed nothing impossible for God, let’s look to another story. Let’s briefly have a look to the story of Gideon in Judge 6. When the Israelites were oppressed by the Amalekites and the Midianites, God sent His angel to meet Gideon and said that God chose Gideon to defeat the Amalekites and the Midianites. (Verse 11-12) What is the impossible thing that happened in this story? Let’s see a map of the power of the both parties. The Midianites and Amalekites have so many people. Was mentioned in the Judges 7:12: The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. While in the Gideon’s side, God said to Gideon: “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” (Judges 7:7 NIV) logically, it was a highly impossible thing. How it is possible with only three hundred people could defeat the Midianites that have uncountable number. Through this story once again we see that something is impossible for us, it is not impossible for God. With God’s inclusion and guidance Gideon and his people finally can defeats the Midianites.

When we face so many hard problems, we often try to find the way out by using logic and the ability of our own mind. And by the time we were deadlocked then our logic will say that this in an impossible thing to be resolved.  We forget that there is God who is in control of all our lives. Through the Bible we can see more proofs that God overturns human logic. We can see the power of God is far above of our logic. A young David against Goliath, Shamgar, or if we could ask to Noah, I do believe that Noah will tell us a lot of how the Lord overcoming what is regarded impossible by human logic.  Jesus Himself reminds us:

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV)

My beloved readers, whether right now we are in facing tribulations and we feel that all of it is impossible to be resolved?  Or we’re in doubt doing something that God commanded?  This evening, please allow me to encourage all of us to bring every of our severe problems and difficulties through prayer to God. Let Him help us to solve our problems by His own way. Please always remember and bear in our heart and mind that for with God nothing shall be impossible. Perhaps our logic and mind says impossible but neither to God. All that happened thousands of years ago will still be going on in our lives today. In my personal life, many times I had many hard problems and seem it is impossible to be resolved. But many times too God shows His marvelous way, far away beyond my logic and thought to solve my problems.  Everything that is not easy for us is an easy thing in the God’s eyes. If God commanded us to dig “ditches in the desert” we just need to obey to do what He commanded though it sounds impossible.

But I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. (Jeremiah 7:23 NIV)

The Israelites chose to obey to what God said and finally they got double blessings. God gave the water that they need and a victory against the Moab. Gideon also always obedient to did what God commanded and he can defeats the Midianites with only three hundred people.

We need make a step of faith to get God’s promises. God’s promises and blessings will not come instantly. We have to do our part first, and God will do His part.  The step of faith that has made by the Israelites is build ditches. Gideon had step of faith by decreasing the number of his people from thirty-thousands to only three hundred people. We should not just remain silent waiting God’s blessings. We have to act to do something with firm faith, walk deeper into the closer relationship with God, and always involve Him in all things in our lives.

…”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 NIV)

 We also have to believe. Distrust and doubt is often become a stumbling block and an obstacle for us to receive God’s Miracles. Please remember that our God is more than capable to doing unpredictable miraculous things. God be able to doing unthinkable and unreachable thing. Although it sound so odd, The Israelites completely believe that through the ditches that they make, God’s power will work. Gideon was truly believed that God will always be with him. We have to believe God will be able to help us through His amazing way. Everything is impossible will be possible if we believe.

“…Everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23 NIV)

My dear friends, if today we got the same question as my secretary question, what is our answer? Let’s confidently answer that question: “Yes! For with God nothing shall be impossible as long as want to completely obey, always walk in firm faith, and believe.” Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: chrislukic.com

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Let’s Praise THE LORD!

 

LET'S PRAISE THE LORD -Karina's Thought

 

Yesterday my husband’s friend gave us a couple of “Straw-headed bulbul bird” These birds are species of the songbird. This morning, their beautiful chirp awakened me and made my morning more wonderful than before. The birds chirp merrily like a singer who joyfully welcomed a brightly new day. Through their melodious chirping I really felt God smile and greet His children who just wake up. I and my husband then took time for a moment to enjoy it and before take a morning prayer my husband asked me to sing a praise song “In Moment like This”.  Talk a bit about birds, how do the birds can sing? Scientifically can be explained as follows, Birds have an organ called “Syrinx”, a bony structure at the bottom of the trachea. Syrinx is made up of membrane that can vibrate when air passes over the syrinx. Because of this birds can chirp, singing, whistling, and even talking. What is the function of the birds chirping? Naturally, the birds sing to attract their mate and also to defend their territory. I was thinking, what kind of song they sung? Whether about love? Joy, or about thanksgiving and glory to God who already take care and provide protection as written in Matthew 10:29? However, no matter how, whatever the functions and the songs, for me it is remind me how magnificent God created this universe. God made this universe full of lovely songs. Moreover, it is one of the wonderful graces from God. God put the songs in the bird’s heart, make them chirping beautifully. A bird is God’s fingerprint creation. God made the birds become a greatest singer.

My dear friends, if God put the songs in the bird’s heart. God did the same thing to us as a human. Let’s take a look at the book of Psalm.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. (Psalm 40:3 NIV)

This verse is very clear said that God alone gives us inspiration; put the new song in our mouth to use for praise Him. As we love music/song, God also loves music. Music is one of the most beautiful God’s grace because I can’t even imagine how dreary and droughty this life without music. Furthermore, besides music can make our life more lives, we also can see that music has great power to bring people to know God, repented, and believe in Him. Until now I still could see that God touch someone amazingly through praise and worship songs.

There is so many God’s creation that we can enjoy; also there are so many His beautiful works that we can feel. So we ought to lift up our praise to God as our gratitude. The book of Psalm talk so much about the beauty of God’s creation and all His blessings, protection, and His love to us. And many times we are asked to sing to lift up our gratitude to God.

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. (Psalm 104:33 NIV)

We are also invited to praise all of the God’s miraculous works,

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. (Psalm 98:1 NIV)

Praise and worship to the Lord is the indispensable part of the Christians lives. Briefly, let’s look at the reasons why we should always praise and worship God.

  • We praise to God because we are created to praise Him. The people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. (Isaiah 43:21 NIV)
  • Commanded to always lift up praise. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:6 NIV)
  • We praise to God because the salvation that has given to us. That I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation. (Psalm 9:14 NIV).
  • We have to praise him for His eternal love. Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 106:1 NIV)
  • We praise to God because God enthroned on our praise. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. (Psalm 22:3 NIV)
  • We praise for He worthy. “You are worthy, our Lord and God,to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11 NIV)
  • We need to always praise the Lord for there is power in praise. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters,their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them this is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 149:6-9 NIV)

Whether we should have beautiful voice so our praise worth, accepted, and please God? I remembered when I was held a Christmas celebration with the orphans last year. There was a teen girl singing a Christmas song titled “Because of Bethlehem”. She didn’t have a beautiful voice like a professional singer but she was able touching my heart and many others so deep.  Through her voice I can felt how wonderful and magnificent God’s love to us. My dear friends, if we refer to verse of Psalm 150:6, this verse didn’t say, “Let those who have beautiful and melodious voice praise the Lord” But the Psalmist said, Let everything that has breath!”  This means that God doesn’t look and assess how beautiful our voice. God is more seeing our sincerity in praising God. The Psalm 9:1a said: I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart” also our praise not only came out from our mouth but rather from our heart. Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19 NIV) When Paul and silas was in prison, they lifted up praise to the Lord. At the time, their condition was not ideal for singing and praising, even Paul might not an expert singer but He and Silas sang with all his heart, and surprisingly, the Lord came down on top of praises, and God pleased with their praise and He did great things. (Acts 16:25-27 NIV)

Moreover, beside we have to praise to God with all our heart, we have to praise God with all humility. Let God be exalted through our praise. God will not pleased if we praise God with pride because we feel has a beautiful voice. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”(Psalm 46:10 NIV)  Also, God will be pleased with our praise if we have very close relationship with God. We have to always realize that near to God alone we always find rest. Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 NIV)

My beloved readers, have we praise to God this morning? Have we when wake up in the morning we spend our time for a moment to lift up praise to God as our gratitude for His wonderful blessings and grace that always new every morning? Or even otherwise, our mouths just filled with complaints and grumbles about the problems we have to face? Today, allow me to encourage all of us before we start our daily activities let’s take a moment to harmonize our hearts and minds for a moment with a beautiful melody that God has placed in His creation. Feel it, enjoy it and ponder the God’s greatness and blessing that has been poured to us. If the birds can sing in the morning, why we don’t do the same thing? Please remember, God not concerned about how well or bad our voice but God will look at our sincerity in praising Him. Our voice quality should not to be a hindrance to keep praise the Lord. We are not in the front of audience who want hear our beautiful voice but we are coming to The Lord, bow down praise and worship Him as an expression of our gratitude for His wonderful blessings, love, comfort, rest, strength, peace and joy that has given to us. Tomorrow the birds will sing again, do we want participate to glorify God through praise that we raise with sincerity, humility, with a very close relationship, and let God be exalted through our praise? Let’s start make our morning become a beautiful moment to lift up our hand to the Lord and praise:

In moments like these I sing out a song
I sing out a love song to Jesus
in moments like these I lift up my hands
I lift up my hands to the lord

singing I love you, lord
singing I love you, lord
singing I love you, lord
I love you

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

(Psalm 98:4 NIV)

Karina – Living by faith

Related post Psalm 98:1 by atimetoshare

Image source: Habitatnews.nus.edu.sg

“In Moment like this” composed by David Graham

 

 

 

 

What a Friend We Have In Jesus

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS -Karina's Thought

 

My post this time was inspired by a hymn song that I heard when I on my way from the church to my home this morning.  “What a friend we have in Jesus” A beautiful well-known hymn song composed by Joseph M. Scriven. Do you have many friends? I am very sure yes you have so many friends. So do I. I have so many friends, even friends from different country. I love make a friendship with everyone.  Friends could make my life more colorful, cheerful, and excited. But the question is how many true friend we have? I am pretty sure we don’t have much.  When I was teen my mother once said that, “It is so easy to find friends, but isn’t easy to find and have a true friends.  There is a difference between ordinary friends with true friends. An ordinary friend could easily come and go but the true friend is someone who always is there in any of our condition. The true friend is someone who could give us encouragement and motivation when we are weak. Could make us feel safe because we know that we are not alone, could be a good listener, strengthen, help, and comfort us when we are in grief. With a best friend we can laugh together, cry, arguing, even quarrelling, but will not leaving each other.”

“What a friend we have in Jesus” remind us that even though we have very best friend, there is a friend above of all. Jesus is an extraordinary true friend that we can find. We may have a very best friend but they are still human being who has weakness. There is a time they could disappoint us but not with The Lord Jesus. He will never disappoint us.  Jesus longs to be our true friend and He himself reached out His hand offers a true friendship with us. If to build a true friendship with humans already provide a lot of advantages and benefits, much less if the friendship that intertwined between us and Jesus. He said:

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.

(John 15:15a NIV)

When I ponder this verse, I felt that I have a very big privilege. “I no longer call you servant” This is the first big privilege. Jesus not places us under Him. Jesus didn’t make a boundary between servant and master. He places us align with Him and made us a His friend. What are other privileges that we can get through making a friendship with Jesus? Let’s have a look together.

Love

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. (Proverb 17:17 NIV)

The Jesus’ love is always shed for us, whatever our condition, because He remains faithful. Jesus understands what became our struggle because He had suffered on this earth and bear all the sins of mankind sins. Jesus is always there for us, although as though He feels away, He is always there in our hearts. And He always listen our complaint and prayers. Anytime we want to confide, He always await us.

Sacrifice

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

Jesus’ sacrifice cannot be doubted. His greatest love has been proven by His death on the cross. He willingly laid down His life to redeem all of our sins. Jesus is a true friend who really loves. We may have best friends but we may not have best friends who willing to sacrifice their lives for our sins. His redemptive work is cleans every sins that we confess before Him. His blood cleanses us and brings up to standard to be able to come into His presence with courage (Hebrews 10:19 NIV)

Closeness

… But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24b NIV)

When Job experience of suffering, all the family and friends left him, and even forget him. But there is one person who never left and forgotten Job, He is the Father in heaven. In our daily lives maybe we once experienced that our brethren left us in misery and at the time a companion even accompany us faithfully. So it is with Jesus. He will never leave and forget us. He always closes to us.

Receptiveness

 I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15b NIV)

 Friendships very close with receptiveness. There is no secret story to a true friend. Likewise, Jesus will reveal all the secrets of heaven to us His people. We shall know God’s heart, His messages, advises, and His reprimand because Jesus himself who will tell us. His extraordinary grace will be poured out for us, when we build a friendship with Jesus. He will guide us and show His bright ways to our lives. He will provide the way out for every of our problems.

Trust

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. (James 2:23 NIV)

Friendship contains a bond of trust. When we believe in Jesus, we become His friend and we become people who can be trusted by Him. Trust will lead to the provision of greater responsibility. We see that the Lord gives a remarkable promise to Abraham, and the promise was fulfilled.

Is it difficult to be Jesus’ friend?  Let’s see what the Bible say to answer this question. First, have a look to this verse:

The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. (Psalm 25:14 NLT)

Fear Him. This first condition that He wants from us to become His friend. What is next?

You are my friends if you do what I command. (John 15:14 NIV)

What kind of God’s command that we should to do? Let’s have a look at verse 12:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

We will get privilege as Jesus’ friend we love each other as He loves us. Then, what other thing we have to do?

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

(James 4:4 NIV)

This verse clearly says that if we are friends with the world, we will become the enemy of God. This means that we should not be double-minded. We must choose to love God and to be His friend or loved the world and death as the consequences. (Romans 8:6-7 NIV)

I strongly believe that we all want and longing to make Jesus as a true friend and actually it is not difficult to be that way. It all is only depends on us. Whether we want to do all what is commanded by Him? Whether in our daily lives we have already fear Him? Have we loved each other as He loves us? Whether we are still friends of the world and love the worldliness things?

There was an inspiring story about friendship. There were two boys named Zac and Vincent. They were friends. When Zac was 6, he had the acute lymphoblastic leukemia and should take chemotherapy. Vincent as Zac’s best friend realized that the medical treatment for Zac was costly. Then he took the initiative to raise funds to help Zac’s medical treatment. He sold 20 scarves and was able to donate $200 to Zac’s family.  Vincent did not stop there, his sense of friendship also shown by coming to school with a shaved head. He said he did not want Zac feel weird having to bald alone, so he too shave his head.

If we make comparison between Vincent in that story with Jesus, Both of them did something for their friend. But Jesus not shaves His hair for us. Jesus did something greater and important than shaving hair. He willing to suffer endured terrible pain because tortured for many hours. He let His body covered in blood beaten and caned, and in His powerlessness He still had bear the cross. His Head wounded punctured with crown of the thorn. And finally He nailed and dead on the cross. For whom Jesus did all of that? For all of us! For what Jesus did it all? For redeem all of our sins! He paid it all of our sins that hinder our way to salvation by sacrificing Himself. Is there a friend like Jesus? If we have friends who are willing to suffer and sacrificing his own life for the sake of our salvation like Jesus did for us? I am afraid in this today world we cannot find a friend like Jesus.

My beloved readers, in His resurrection day, I ask all of us to ponder again where we place Jesus in our life? Whether we have been placed Jesus as our true friend? Or whether our heart are still ambiguous, even choose make a friend with the world? With all that Jesus has done for us, whether we are still hesitating to make Jesus as our true friend? In this Easter day, allow me to encourage all of us to always remember that God always longing and always reached out His hand to be our true friend. Human being still has weakness and limitations but neither to Jesus the Lord. There is a time human could let us down but neither to Jesus. Jesus has proven His perfect love to us through the great redemption work on the Cross. Jesus fulfilled all that was prophesied. In this Easter day let’s again examine ourselves. Have we become a true friend to Jesus? And if we have made Jesus as a true friend, whether we have done all His command? Let’s make this Passover to be a momentum to rebuild and renew our relationship with the Lord Jesus and truly make the Lord Jesus as a true friend. What a friend we have in Jesus. Amen

My dear friends, I, my husband Kevin, and our little precious Andrew says, wishing your Easter is decorated with love, peace, and joy of spring and the season’s blessings! HAPPY EASTER.

For more detailed story about Zac and Vincent please click here:

http://www.today.com/health/little-boy-shaves-head-comfort-best-friend-fighting-cancer-2D11975522

Karina – Living by faith

This post also can read in my other blog at http://karinalam.godinterest.org

Image source: http://www.theendlesslife.org