Archive | January 2017

Facing the GIANT

When I was on vacation in Japan, I took time to watch a Japanese wrestling sport, Sumo; I watched something interesting and become an idea of this article.  At the one session, there was an entertainment session that performs a real sumo wrestler against a little boy. It was so funny saw their body size that totally incomparable. “A little boy facing the giant” said my husband laughingly. I saw that little boy was trying hard to push 382 pound weight the sumo wrestler and finally the real wrestler falls and lifted his two hand up as a sign he give up and lose.

What I saw an impossible thing yet very funny and entertaining. But, in other side it was made me thinking. I am thinking about our lives. In our daily lives, we often like that little boy. We often are facing “The Giant”. Not the real giant but one thing that couldn’t be separated from every aspect of our lives. “Problem” There’s time we face a big problem as though we face a giant and we are like the little boy that too small compared with the sumo wrestler. Often time we aren’t just facing one problem but we have to face a huge of problems that come at the same time and seem impossible to overcome. Even worse, in my personal experience the problems seemed compete who the first that successfully beat me.

How big our strength and durability facing the “Giants”?  The answer will be different for each people. Mental factors, conviction, fortitude, experience, and many other factors will greatly affect. And of course there’s another important factor that gives big effect, which is our faith!  My beloved readers, this time I would love to take all of us to explore some Bible stories that could be a lesson for all of us in facing “the giant”

When we talk about facing the giant, I’m very sure we will reminded about the story of David against Goliath. David, a very young shepherd was facing a six cubits champion complete with bronze helmet, bronze greaves on his legs; a bronze javelin slung on his back, armed by spear with six hundred weighed on its iron point. We all also know the ending of this story. David won against Goliath only by a sling and one stone. There are two interesting point could be a lesson for us when we are facing “the giant” Let’s take a look at verse 37 of 1 Samuel 17. David said to Saul: “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Well, you know, this’s about David’s intense belief to God. He strongly believes if God has rescued him from the beast, God will also save him from Goliath.  Now let’s go to the verse 45. David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied”  It’s about relying on God. I’m pretty sure at the time David, with his background as a shepherd, aware of their ability to fight. He also totally realized Goliath wasn’t a balanced opponent. But David didn’t afraid at all because he was in God’s protection and didn’t rely on his own strength but he totally relies on the Lord almighty.

My dear friends, let’s take a look to the other story.  Let’s have a look when the Israelites were wedged between Pharaoh’s pursuits and the Red sea. At the time, Moses said to the people of Israel: “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever” (Exodus 14:13) There are three main keys should be done by the Israelites. First don’t be afraid.  The second is stand still, and the last is keep focus on God’s salvation. We all know what happened next, the Red Sea was divided, and the Israelites went into the dry ground. Not stop there, Through Moses God also overthrew the Egyptians into the midst of the sea and the water covered them! Not one of them survived! (Exodus 14: 26-28)

Now, I will take all of us to look the last story. Let’s have a look to the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20.  Jehoshaphat feared when he knew that a vast army of Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites will come against him from Edom. It wasn’t an easy situation. Because the power of Jehoshaphat and his people wasn’t enough to face the great multitude But Jehoshaphat made a right decision. He seeks God! He knows to whom he rely on. Then finally God said to him: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20: 15) And God also said in the verse 17: “…stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” The end of the story is Jehoshaphat and his people rejoice over the enemies.

Now let’s go back to our lives. Like it or not, there are times our lives will be facing “the giants”, there are times we even absolutely cannot shy away from them. Our lives will never be free from “the giant” named problems and they could come together at the same time so make us besieged and difficult to find the way out. Maybe this time there is among us who are facing “The Giants” where we are wedged between them. There’s no way out. We couldn’t go forward or even backward. We looked very small and helpless among the giants who ready to destroy us. This evening please allow me to encourage all of us to ponder and learn the stories above. If God has won David against Goliath, He will surely win us from every “Giant” we face off. If God has helped Moses and Jehoshaphat, He absolutely will help us to overcome every our problems. God told to us to not be afraid. Why we don’t have to be afraid? For God said to us:

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

So do not fear, for I am with you;   do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Yes we don’t have to be afraid because He goes with us together with His angel that will go ahead of us.

My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. (Exodus 23:23)

For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. (Psalms 91:11)

We also have to remember that God always with us in every situation as He said:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.  For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:2-3)

My dear friends, God have promised that will never leave us; He will help us, and strengthen us. What we need to do is don’t ever be afraid and strongly believe that God will always fulfill his promises. He said:

“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36)

We also must listen His word and do all that He say,

If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. (Exodus 23:22)

My beloved friends, we may not know what kind of “giant” that we must face. We may not know how strong the problems that will attack us. But once again I encourage all of us to always believe, stand still, don’t be afraid, and don’t give up. We are not alone. We have God who always with us.

“… I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

If the little boy actually impossible to take down the wrestler, it doesn’t applies to us. Jesus said to us that, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) as long we aren’t rely on our own strength but rely on God’s strength because He is our strength and shield (Psalm 28:7) Keep seek God, living in the Lord almighty, really love Him wholeheartedly, let His Holy Spirit anoint us, live in Holiness, and finally we can say:

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

And confidently we can say:

If God is for us, who can be against us?”(Romans 8:31) Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: gigaom.com

Advertisements

ONLY THROUGH LOVE (guest post)

Our Christian identity is not like ID card that reads “Christian”, the symbol of the cross, or a painting of Jesus hanging on the walls of our homes. Nor various attributes nuanced “Christian” that we use.

Our Christian identity is LOVE, because love is God’s “FINGER PRINT” in us. Only through the love then the world will know the Father through us.

Have we live and move only in and by Father’s love??

From the beginning the Christ followers had experience a variety obstacles and challenges. Acts 4 tells us that Peter and John were arrested by the priests because they proclaim Jesus’ resurrection. In Chapter 5 the high priest and his followers captured the apostles and put them in jail because of jealous and indignation. And after the martyrdom of Stephen in chapter 6 and 7, many obstacles and challenges increasingly expanded until now.

This is not surprising because the Lord Jesus himself said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18–19 NKJV)

As followers of Christ in the modern world, we not only have to maintain the purity of faith in the midst of an increasingly free lifestyle, but we also have to be careful and thoughtful in dealing with various obstacles and challenges that may come. Knowingly or not, the world will continually see us. They see every speech and our actions. They assess how a follower of Christ to respond when treated not well.

When our hearts are hurt, whether we will reply to wounding with sharper “arms” or we will forgive them.  When we are insulted, whether we will turn disparage them or we give them smile. When we hated, whether we will respond with scorn or we will give them love. The world will see what our respond when all the unpleasant things happened to us.

In Acts 6 & 7, Stephen was being treated cruel and unjust. He was falsely accused on charges of blasphemy: Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.  And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” (Acts 6:9-11)

The result of all that is Stephen brought to the council and must take the punishment that should not be, that died at the hands a lot of people who stoned him. Right at the threshold of death, Stephen prayed: “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60 NKJV)

In the midst of overflows hatred and anger of crowd to him, Stephen’s heart surrounded by the love that enabled him to forgive those who wronged him. What kind of love that able to forgive that great sin? It was not love that comes from the heart of an ordinary person!

In Acts 6:3,5,8 was written that Stephen was a good reputation person, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, full of faith and power. All of it, are spiritual qualities which only owned by the pious people, namely those who actually maintain his relationship with God. People are not just run a religious duty, but always live in intimacy with God, abiding, and really put their lives on God.

The reflection of Stephen’s intimacy with God is look so clear in the council when the witnesses gave false testimony about Stephen: And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw HIS FACE AS THE FACE OF AN ANGEL. (Acts 6:15 NKJV)

Stephen was full of God’s presence. The glory of God is so real surround him until other people can see it! The Holy Spirit lives within Stephen so he filled with love that enabled him to forgive and faithful till the end. Musing for all of us is: Did anyone else see the glory of God through our lives??

We know that human nature is returning evil for evil, and kindness with kindness. Some are even repay kindness with evil. But as followers of Christ we are required to live in different standard of love:

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46 NKJV)

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28 NKJV)

Christ teaches us to love those who hate us because they don’t know what they did. They hate us because they do not know God the Father. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” (John 15:21 NKJV)

If we hate them, then who will preach the Gospel of Salvation to them?! Hate those who “persecute” us is tantamount to closing the door of salvation for them. Father’s will is that everyone is saved. Therefore we must demonstrate God’s love for them through concrete actions. Thus they will get to know Father in Heaven through us.

If we’ve done a good and right thing but others are still figure out our mistakes… If we are currently facing particular pressure because we are the obedient Christians… If someone mock us as “fanatics” or “pastor” because we do not want to compromise with certain sin… No matter of the form of obstacles and challenges that happened, our first response must be LOVE. If our hearts are always filled with Christ’s love, then that love will keep us so that our next move will not deviate from love corresponding with Father’s will.

In 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 was written the extreme comparison of love. Let me quote it in full for we reflect together:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV)

Love is our Christian identity. Without love, all we do is nonsense, useless, and nothing! Let us not be known just as Christians who went to church, energetic in ministry, and is active in various social activities. All was good, but above all let us be known as a Christian who full of loving Christ.

However, how perfect the love of Christ! How high and deep His love is always far beyond of human’s love. Without His help, we would not be able to reach it. The love that could meet standard of God’s love is only love that comes from God’s Spirit alone!

“Now hope does not disappoint, because THE LOVE OF GOD HAS BEEN POURED OUT IN OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5 NKJV)

If we want to have the love of Christ, we must always be in with the Holy Spirit. If we continue to build intimacy with the Holy Spirit, from time to time, we will be change into more and more like Christ, so that we will enabled to love others as Christ has loved us first.

The core of Christianity is love because God is love. The reason of God’s works for the world is love. If we wish to be a blessing and bring many souls to Christ, there is no way other than we must always be connected with the Holy Spirit.

Let us open our heart and allow the Holy Spirit pour Father’s love till the love attached to be our identity that cannot be separated from our lives, flow through our lives, and touch a lot of people so they can feel and see it. Because only through love we can be a blessing and praising God.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV)

Amen

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo credit: Google Images

Edit with: pixlr App

New Year With The Lord

happy2bnew2byear2b20172bposter

New Year with The Lord

Hello, my beloved friends and readers! First of all, on the first day of this New Year, allow me to say Happy New Year 2017 to all of you. May God always protect us; give joy, comfort and abundant blessing to all of us.

Yesterday, my parents held a New Year eve dinner. He invited His business friends in Hong Kong. When my mom gave a speech, she delivered some encouraging and motivation words about New Year.  I called her words “New Year with the Lord” This time I love to share it to all of us.

The success in this past year could be the sweetest thing that we have received in our lives. It becomes a reward of all our hard work over the years. Have fun and celebrate it sufficiently.  Please don’t let ourselves be lulled to the joy of comfort. Let’s start again at work in the following days because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we don’t even know what the problems have to face. Let’s keep fight in faith to God.

A new year is about to unfold new opportunities to explore.

Doors will open for new experiences, New adventures with the Lord

Remember not the former things, the things of this past year,

The Lord will do new things in us, much more than we are aware

For He will make a way for us as we put our trust in Him

And He will guide our every step by His presence we have within

What God has placed within our hearts, we find we’ll be able to do

If we look for the opportunities, we’ll see the door to go through

We mustn’t let anything hold us back but rise up and take our place

And be all that God wants us to be with a fresh touch of His grace

We can achieve success in the New Year not because we are able but because there is the immense power of God that enables us to does everything well. With the Lord we can do many good things.

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Happy New Year 2017 to all of us

Karina & Rebecca Lam – Living by Faith

Image source: Google Image