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A Cup of Tea for God

A CUP OF TEA FOR GOD - Karina's Thought

 

My father once said that one of the happiest things is when his little daughter ran to greet him when he came home after work. Still strongly remembered in my mind when I was 6, every day I ran excitedly with happily shouting, “Daddy…!” to my father. With cheerful face he opened his arms to hug me tightly, kissed me and I kissed him back. After that, with my Mom’s help, usually I made him a cup of hot tea and then I sat beside him. I also still remember, within his tiredness, my dad’s face radiated a tremendous happiness. At that time, I was excited because I could make him happy and wipe his tiredness after work all day long.
As a child, make our mom and dad pleased and happy is become our responsibility. Well, How about God our Father in Heaven? Whether we always make Him pleased and happy too? If I always make a cup of tea as a way to make him happy, what we can do so can make God pleased? We cannot run to greet God, and then God will hug and kiss us like my daddy did to me. We even cannot make a cup of tea for God. We are not physically near with God. So what we can do? Here, as an example, I chose one of the great Bible figures that said as a righteous man, blameless among the people and walked with God. He is Noah! Noah’s life is always pleasing God and we can learn from him how to make God pleased. At least there are five things that we could get from Noah so that we can please God.
Love God above of all
Noah always loves God more than anything even when there is nobody loves God. Love God means to have a very close relationship with Him.

 

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. (Genesis 6:9)

Through this verse, we knew that Noah has a very close relationship with God. This is also what God wants from us. God longs we have very close relationship with Him, love Him wholeheartedly, and what He desired is our mercy. Hosea 6:6 said:

 

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

In this verse we know that our mercy can make God pleased. Give big offerings to the church or those people in need doesn’t mean we automatically have been pleases God. God also would be pleased if we have unstoppable yearning to be closer to Him and to know of his personal more deeply. Still strong, not easily waver because of the worldly temptations. In the New Testament, Jesus said:

 

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)

What about us now? How deep is our love to God? Do we have very close relationship with God? Whether we have been doing the Lord’s command as written in the verse above?
Fully trust to God
Noah fully trust what God told him when He warned about something that has not happened and unseen and when God commanded him to do unreasonable thing. Actually, there are three things that can make Noah did not believe what had God said to him. First, He never sees the rain and before the floodwaters God irrigate the earth from the land. Second, Noah lived far from the sea. How could he bring the ark into the sea? Third, put together the whole animals are not an easy job. But what Noah does? He does not complain and prefer trust to God and have faith that he knows what the best is. God pleased that Noah totally trusts Him. In everyday lives, how deep we trust in God? Do we still trust in God when our lives so hard and there are so many difficult things should to overcome? Do we still firmly trust to God when we should to do unreasonable things? Like Noah, indeed God will be very pleased if in any circumstances we still faithfully trust Him. We should to remain trust that whatever God commanded is the best for us.
Fully obey to God
At the time, when God commanded Noah to make an ark, God does not say, “Noah, Make it a regular boat as whatever you want” But God gave the details of the ark that should to be made. (Genesis 6:14 -16) Then, what Noah did? Beside he fully trust to God, Noah is fully obey to God’s command. He did every single detail as prescribed by God precisely.

 

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. (Genesis 6:22)

What about us? What if God commanded us to do something according His will? Do we will obey to doing everything what God wants? Or we would have many questions, raise an objection or we even unwilling to do it all? God will pleased if we remain obey to do all of His word. God will be very pleased if we live our lives with obedience. Have we?
Praising the Lord and be grateful
Praising the Lord is one form of way to pleasing God. God will be pleased if we have lifestyle that is always praise and worship Him in the midst of our happiness and even sadness, and we do it with wholeheartedly. The first act of Noah after survived from the floodwaters is expressing his thankfulness to God by offering burnt sacrifices.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:20)

We must know and understand, God is very pleased and love His children if we always Glorify, Praise and be grateful for what God has given to us. This means that God’s will be happy and pleased when we appreciate everything that God has done for us. Are we ready to have lifestyle that always praise and worship Him whatever our situation and condition? Can we always be grateful not only in our happiness but even in affliction?

Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.(Psalm 147:7)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Using our ability

When God gave the command to Noah to make an ark, Noah did it by using all his ability. And Noah believes that God will enable him to make an ark according to God’s command. After the flood, God gave Noah another command:

“Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything” (Genesis 9:1-3)

This is the time of Noah to use his ability to continue life. Doing the things that has become God’s plan and provision for mankind. Have a children and offspring, found a family, farming and breeding. So it is with us now, God also wants us to use the abilities that God has given us to do the God’s will and to please Him. There is no reason for us to not be able to do God’s will, because we are not going to bring the glory of God and we are not going to be a blessing if we shame and do not use our ability for the God’s glory. God gives us different abilities beside used for our benefit, God also wants through our abilities always please Him.

My dear readers, I will end this post by asking you to ponder these five things: If we have longing to loves God more than anything and make Him as a top priority? Have we truly lean on and completely trust to God? How deep is our obedience to do all His commands? If we already have a lifestyle that is always be grateful and praise God in all circumstances? How we use our ability, if only for worldly pleasure or all we do is just for pleases and glory of God alone? Physically, we cannot make a cup of tea for God, could not run greet, hug and kiss Him. But spiritually we can come to God, living in His providence, feel His warm loving kindness and blessings. And we can make “A cup” of mercy for God filled with full of love, trust, obedience, praise and gratefulness. We make it with full of our ability to pleases God. Are we willing to? Amen.

Further reading: https://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/what-does-it-mean-to-thine-own-self-be-true/

Thank you very much to Sister Anne for your further article.

Karina – Living by Faith
Image source: Google Images

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7 Words after Jesus’ Resurrection

HE IS RISEN-Karina's Thought

For us as Christians, The resurrection of Jesus Christ has a very deep meaning. It is a greatest gift in the human history. This time I tried to depict the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection from another side. I and my husband focused our attention to the seven words after He was raised. However, need to know that this post is not a Bible study or commentary. This posts just our thought. So later on when read this post you may found any mistake or miss interpretation, please feel free to give us comment, suggestion or critic. This post is based on John 20: 15-29. We are not saying that these are first saying but I prefer called it as seven important words after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 
First words: “Woman” He said “Why you crying?” (John 20:15)

 
We spent much time to ponder this word. Crying! In life, crying is a life reality. Crying is something which becomes a part of our lives. There is a time when we have to cry for some reason. Jesus’ resurrection is not wiping our tears but He is the answer of every reason for our tears. God has not promised that there is no more rain, but God promised that there is always rainbow after the rain. God has not promised that there is no more tear, but God promises that tears of grief will turn to tears of joy! God has not promised that the sky will always clear, but He promises that in the midst of the dark cloud, God still be there for His children. And one day God promised that: ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”(Revelation 21:4) This time, if we are currently in a difficult situation, have much life’ pressure, our life is so dark, and so many tears, remember that God always be with us. God always be there for us.

 
The second: “Maria…” (Verse 16)

 
Here we know something that Jesus recognized the woman as Mary, one of His disciples. This show us that God really know very well every His disciples personally. It means He also knows very well each of our problem. He knows our difficulties and struggling. He appreciates each of us. People will feel much appreciated if his name is always remembered. Jesus did it. Not just to Mary but even to each of His disciples. Further, Jesus care to each of us as His children. In everyday lives, we often just remember to those people who we really care. But Jesus always cares to everyone who believes Him no matter who they are. He teaches us to always put awareness to everyone. Not only to those people who are very close to us.

 
The third: “…Go instead to my brothers and tell them…..” (Verse 17)

 
Jesus told to Mary to go to proclaim the news of His resurrection to His brethren. Why the Jesus’ resurrection should to proclaim? Because it news gives a joy. The death of Jesus on the Cross makes the disciples very sad and devastated. And only His resurrections who can make them rejoice again. This means that Easter is Joyful news because our Savior has triumphed over power of death. Moreover, the news gives a strength and courage. Jesus’ disciples become weak and fear after Jesus death and they stay in hidden place. The news of Jesus’ resurrection makes them found new courage and strength to keep running life, because they know that Jesus always be with. Hope! Jesus arose with bring a hope. The Death of Jesus made the disciples scattered because they lost hope for the future. Therefore, Jesus’ resurrection reunites his disciples in Jerusalem, and gave them hope for a better future. My dear friends, if we now lose of hope, please remember In God we always have a hope. We don’t need to worry of our future because even though our path is so dark, there is always a light of hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.(Romans 15:13)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Fourth: “Peace be with you” (Verse 19&21)

 
Jesus’ resurrection has a meaning that He rose bring peace to His people. We are as believers should have peace because: Our sins have been forgiven, death and Satan has been defeated, and by His wound we are healed. In this hard life, our life is very close with fear and worry which become from the problem and trials that we face. And it all make us don’t have peace. Remember this point: The resurrection of Jesus Christ bring peace to us. Though our live is so hard, there is no reason to us to do not have peace because God has promise to us:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Fifth: “As the Father has sent me. I am sending you (verse 21b).

We thought this point is a most important thing in Christian life. Deputation! Call to serve others. After Jesus arose, He will ascend to the Heaven. It means it is our turn to continue His works in this world. There are three kind of calling that should be done. The first is Evangelism. Call to become a fisher. Church and we are as congregation should to proclaim God’s word bravely to over the world. Bring the lost to know and accept God as a personal savior.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

The second is communion/ fellowship (Koinonia in Greek). This is a calling to fellowship with others in the church. Through fellowship our Christian life and faith will grow up and we can encourage each other. It is written in Hebrew 10:25,

Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We are also the God’s citizen.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, (Ephesians 2:19)

And even though we are many and different but we are the one body.

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:5)

The third is deacon (Diaconia). As Christians we also called to help the poor or those people in need. This is not just implemented with pray for them but even implemented with our deeds by donate them. We should learn from Macedonian churches who willing to gave much as they were able.

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, (2 Corinthians 8: 1-3)

If they are in the midst of trial be able to give, why we are that probably in sufficient not to do the same thing. Besides we give an offertory and the tithe, there is no harm to give to people in need such as beggars or the poor.

Sixth: “….and be not faithless, but believing” (verse 27)

This saying is Jesus’ proving to Thomas who doubt and do not believe in His resurrection. Not only to Thomas but to the many people who doubting the fact that Jesus has risen. Here, we learn not to be skeptic like Thomas. Do not miss an important moment to believe. Even in the worst circumstances, when we do not understand God’s purpose, choose to continue to believe. Nothing is impossible for those who believe in Him.

Seventh:”…Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Verse 29b)

This last saying is talk about something that becomes a foundation in Christian lives. Here we talk about Faith. Relating to Thomas case, Jesus does not rebuke him because he doesn’t believe. Jesus pleased eventually Thomas believes that He arose. It is good our faith grows because we see something miracle happens. But actually, it would be even better if our faith grows by believing something that not seen. My dear friends, in daily lives, how many times we behave like Thomas? We are so hard to believe in something that we do not see. We tend to find out the proof before we believe. One thing to be remembered is we are saved not by works but by faith.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And as the righteousness we should living by faith and also not by what we see.

, Just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

For we live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

In this part, let’s ponder together one thing, how healthy and strong our faith today? How far we are confident and believe in the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Conclusion

Through Jesus’ resurrection: We are saved, give us new peace, strength and hope, give us responsibility to proclaim the Gospel, build and maintain fellowship with others, caring to those people who need our hand, and eventually, Jesus’ resurrection teach us to always maintain our faith to trust in God’s will and plan for our life. Dear all beloved friends, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a greatest gift in the human history. Happy Easter! God bless you abundantly. Amen.

Karina & Kevin – Living by Faith
Photo credit: beencreekbaptist.org

He Will Make Us Able

He will Make Us Able -Karina's Thought

If we read the Bible we will find so many great Bible figure such as Moses, David, Abraham, Paul and many other great names who has been known very well. But beside those great names, there is a Bible figure that makes me interested and I have learned something from him. He is Shamgar. Shamgar is not as popular as David and other great name. Shamgar’s name just mentioned two times in the Bible. First in Judges 3:31 and the second are in Judges 5:6. What is the interesting thing from this figure? Let’s take a look at this verse:

After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel. (Judges 3:31)

Shamgar be able to defeat six hundreds Philistines only by using an ox goad. This was unbelievable! I remembered one Hollywood action movie titled “Rambo” A hero who could strike down hundreds enemies alone. But what I saw in that movie is only fictional. Not a true story. Shamgar’s story is the real one. True story!

Actually, who is Shamgar? Unfortunately we could not dig up much about the background of the Shamgar. Shamgar is Anath’s son. He lived in the era after Ehud successfully defeated the Moabites and make Israel safely along 80 years. But after that Israel should face the Philistines and at that time, Shamgar appeared to resolve the situation, dispel, and killed six hundreds Philistines.The Question is, what does makes Shamgar be able to beat them all just by using an ox goad? When I ponder it, I found the answer. I do believe that it all happened just because God’s help! Shamgar believe that God will be with. He is ready to go beat his enemies and amazingly he won the battle against the Philistines. He has saved the Israelites from destruction.

 
My dear friends, whether we realize that in our lives we also striving and battling every day? Not against the human but against the Satan! Satan is never sleep and silent. He keeps trying to mislead and destroy us. We also never stop strive facing any kind of problems, difficulties, and challenges. Oftentimes we felt that our lives are so hard and we are thinking that we face something impossible to overcome. We are also felt that we don’t have power and ability to conquer all of the problems. But as Christians, there is something that we should always remember that before God the words of: Amazing, astonishing or miraculous are not something new anymore. There are so many stories in the Bible that show us God did many unbelievable things through His chosen people. He shows us that He can bowl over human logic with His miracle series. Jesus said:

“What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

There is nothing impossible before God. Though six hundreds problems and obstacles trying to hit us, we will defeat it all as long as we trust and totally rely on God’s power. Though we feel weak and don’t have ability, God will use and enable us to overcome all problems and we will win in the life’s battle. I was remembering when I was promoted to replace my father position in the company. Some people doubted my ability as a new leader. Even someone cynically said,” Karina is a young spoiled girl who just saw the sun yesterday. She by no means has experience in running a company. She doesn’t even know how cruel and hard the business world. She doesn’t know how to make money in business, but she does know every well how to spend the money”. At that time, I was just thinking that the promotion is not only a part of my parent’s plan but I even do believe that is a part of God’s plan for my life. If so, firmly I also do believe that God will enable me to replace my father position and be able to run their company as long I trust to God and not counting on my own strength. I was remembering Jeremiah’s story when God call him. These verses greatly strengthen me and convince me not to be afraid and discouraged:

“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 1:6-8)

If we dig deeper to the Holly Bible, many times God show us that there is nothing impossible and can be to do miraculous things through those people who chosen by God. Let’s see who is chosen to beat Goliath. A mighty warlord? No! God chose a young David (1Samuel 17:42). Another example, let’s take a look to the story of Gideon (Judges 7). How God commanded Gideon to summon up three hundreds troops only to face the Midianites and Amalekites which described like grasshoppers for multitude and their camel as the sand by the sea side for multitude. (Judges 7:12). There are so many miraculous story in the Bible that could underlie us to be able perform as a winner in overcome various problems and challenges even which seemingly impossible.

 
My lovely readers, we may not a super hero, we may just unknown ordinary person, maybe we are too young among the elderly, and they are look down and dubious to our ability. I would like to say something: Please don’t be discourage or feeling useless. Because God can use and turn us become an extraordinary person and be able doing miracle things. Shamgar is not a famous figure but God use him amazingly to do unbelievable thing. David just a young shepherd but he successfully beat goliath only by using stones and a slingshot. The point is, trust and totally rely on God’s strength. We have to trust that God knows and pleased to His children who love and trust in Him. Through us God will use various miracle things to declare His existence. God can use anyone to show His mightiness and sovereignty. Even God can use the weak and foolish people if He pleases.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Besides from many other great Bible figure, this evening I encourage you to also learn from Shamgar’s story. We learn how God’s power works on ordinary people to be able to do miracle things. Through His chosen people God can turn impossible thing to be possible. God can turn illogical thing become logical. We learn to always put our faith on God’s strength rather than on ingenuity and human logic.

so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1Corinthians 2:5)

This time if we are struggling so hard to face so many trials and challenges, don’t worry and don’t feel discouraged. Once again Trust Him! Leaning and relying on God mightiness. Ask Him through prayer so that we are enabled and given the strength. He will make us able. Amen.

Karina – Living by Faith
Photo credit: Google Images

Faith As a Foundation

FAITH AS A FOUNDATION 2 - Karina's Thought

“I have learned from an eagle that has very away visibility. It means I always trying to put my vision and mission not only for the short term but even for long term. I also always trying and learning to look every difficulty with the eyes of faith not only by naked eye. As long we doing what is God wants, I think we do not need to doubt and worry about the future success. I always trying to put and use my faith as foundation. With having strong faith to God we able to face any difficulties and even do not to worry and doubt about what tomorrow will bring” Explanation above is the statement from one my business friend when she asked how to see and face any difficulties in life.
My dear readers, once again it is talked about faith or faith in God. A Word which already familiar in Christian life. Many times we always heard people said that we should to have strong faith, put our faith above of all, walking by faith, etc. Faith is easy to say but oftentimes so hard to be applied. In everyday live many times we really hard to see the future without worry. The Bible said:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

(Hebrews 11:1)

There is a wonderful and encouraging quote from Corrie Ten Boom that I always remember:

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.

When I ponder this verse and quote, I conclude that faith is a foundation of everything what we hope also is a proof of everything that we have not see. Stare with faith will make us do not need to worry to looking the future. Looking with faith will make us could see every God’s promise even before its promise comes. However, why we can be so sure?! Here is the answer:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

What a wonderful and encouraging verse. But once again, without faith it is impossible to believe. Our ability to have far visibility is very limited. Not be able to take us to see the future fulfillment. We just wait and wait. And oftentimes it will make us waver and doubt. Then how we could believe? Once again Bible verse in Hebrews 11:1 should to be our foothold so that we can see the evidence of everything that have not seen. Only by faith that will enables us to keep calm, trust and keep walking without doubt to see our future success.
One question arises. How big faith do we need? Have Faith as big as a mountain or an ocean? No. Not at all! Jesus even said conversely. Jesus said:

“Because you have so little faith. 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)

Just as a mustard seed? Please do not have wrong perception. In this context Jesus is not talking about size but talk about the result of our faith that getting bigger and stronger.This verse means as a believer we should always strengthen our faith in facing any kind of difficulties. Jesus Said:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”(Matthew 13:31-32)

This means that Jesus wants our faith to grow bigger and stronger day by day, because He wants us to build our trust as the foundation of a strong faith. Trust is the potential energy that is able to move what might impossible become possible. Then how to keep our faith continues to grow? There is only one way, that is involving God in the process of our faith growth. We can ask the Lord to be involved in our life so that the faith we try to grow will be even increase.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5)

The result of our spiritual and faith growth will be seen in how we react when facing difficult situation and uncertain future. Our reaction and how we look any difficulties will represent indeed how big our faith and how far we believe to God’s plan and His wonderful promise.

Let our eyes just looked at the difficulties that we are facing would not give any benefit. We need open our eye of faith to see promises which God has provided to us. We need our eyes of faith to looking away to overcome every difficulty. The eye of faith needed in order to we do not waver, doubt, and worry in running our life.

My dear readers, actually I don’t know what is your burden now, what of difficulties you face today, how worry you are to see the future. This time I would like to encourage you, if we face it all with faith, we open our eyes of Faith and put it as a strong foundation, I strongly believe that we wouldn’t worry about everything happens in our future. And we will see the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Faith is like a baby who always needs the best nutrition to keep growing. The best nutrition for the growth of our faith is God’s words. Let us continue feed our faith to grow by reading and comprehend God’s word every day and implementing it by deeds.

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:22)

further strengthens our relationship with God through prayer, Involving God in every step of our lives, ask for the strength and wisdom, and let His Holy Spirit anoint our life so ultimately we will have faith as a mustard seed. The question is: Do we have a yearning to continue to make our faith grow? Or whether we’ve put our faith as a solid foundation in our lives? Do we’ve opened the eyes of faith to see wonderful future without worry? Let’s ponder together. Amen.

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. (Hebrews 11:1-2, MSG)
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So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
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Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom

Karina – Living by Faith
Related article: Feed Your Faith by Heidi Viars
Photo by Sue Nash. heavenlyraindrops.wordpress.com

Living in God’s Providence

Living in God's Providence - Karina's Thought

And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. Luke 12:29-30

This post is a response to my friend who was having financial problem. Through email she tells how hard she trying to overcome her financial problem. She asked me not for money but just asked me to pray and give her a bit encouragement thought so that she could endure to deal with her problem.

In the very tough situation today, so many people easily sigh about their problem. How hard they trying to meet so many needs even just their daily needs. Living cost getting higher, got pressure and stress in their jobs, financial responsibility that must be met, and so many other problems that should to face. All of it would cause worry and fear.

It is written in Luke 12:24: Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

This verse is comforting us. We are much more valuable than the birds. If God feed the birds we supposed do not need to worry. But just be realistic for a moment. We are not like birds that do not have any needs like us as humans. Even birds do not sow or reap, do not have storeroom or barn. We need so many things. We need gasoline for our cars, gas for the kitchen, life and health insurance, tuition for the kids, maybe we also need to pay the rent, and a bit extra budget just in case we got unexpected needs. So how can we not worry? Well, let’s take a look to the next verse:

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12:25-26

My dear readers, this is the point that we have. Worrying does lead us to nowhere. Thus, what can we do? It is a good question! What else can we do? Remember this; God has given us a lot of options. We can do anything. We can do to help solve our difficult situation except worry! Once again we are not like birds. God gave us incredible mind to us and we can use it to explore and find out any solution and possibilities to overcome our problems. That is the more practical thing we should be doing. Ok, another question arises. What if we couldn’t think and find of any solution? Well then, if we can’t think and find of any? Once again, worry isn’t a part of the solution. The very best way are: keep trusting God, Keep faith in God, and Resting in God’s wisdom and providence. And this is the point that God wanted us to do. Let us try to do everything as best we are and then submit the rest to God. A higher power than we have definitely can overcome everything that we can’t.

It seems so simple and easy. Then we have other worries and ask: How come? We have only a month’s budget and still have other needs. What shall we do? My lovely friends, indeed, God really understands our fear and worry and He knows that many times we mistake those fears and worry for a real need. A fear and worry is something that may not happen. A need is something we have to address at the very moment where we are. So if we have got a budget for a month groceries, that means God has given us the means to survive today and for the rest of the month as well. What’s bothering us is not be met, but future need, a fear that may or may not come into reality.

I was remembering about the story of Elijah in 1 King 17:1-9.

Since there was to be no rain for the next few years, God provided for Elijah’s needs by pointing him towards the kerith brook and when the brook dried up, God instructed him to go to Zarephath, where his needs shall continue to be provided for. There is one interesting thing here. Please pay attention to dried brook. God never said to Elijah that someday the brook will dry up and then God will say to Elijah that He will send him to a widow who will feed him. But God provide another way to survive after the brook dried up. (1 King 17:7-8)

This is very different from way we want to be provided for. We have been used to having a lot of surplus in our hands, or some kind of insurance that will see us through in case some unexpected things happen. If we don’t have a big allowance like that, we become fearful because we don’t know where we are going to find the things to address our needs. I think this isn’t wrong to think logically. Indeed God has given us a mind to plan wisely and to take care of our finances. The wrong thing is when we limit ourselves to our plans and when our plans don’t work well, we panic! We lose heart and we forget from where all good things really come from. From God!

We often rely on our confidence and peace on the material things that can get stolen away from us.  The right way is it should be anchored in God alone. That is God point in wanting us to trust Him, to save us from unnecessary worries that give us so much stress and even affects our health.  In the next story of Elijah, God once again proved His providence. When Elijah asked for meal to the widow, she only had enough for one last meal! She said: “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” (1 Kings 17:12) The widow thought she and her son were already going to starve to death! Why? All that she had was only enough for one last meal. But even that doesn’t say that they were not being provided for. And after using everything she had, it was time for God’s providence to show itself: She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. (1 Kings 17:15-16)

God provides just in time. He is never late even a second. And He provides for all our needs, not just for food, for our Father knows everything our lack. One real concern God is also well aware of is our concern for our health. He knows how much money we need in case any of our loved ones get sick. He knows how great our fear is, especially when we don’t have enough saving or insurance for it. In the story of Elijah and the widow, one of our most dreadful fears happened, when loved ones get sick and we have no money or any kind of means to help them in their sickness. But What God did? When in tears Elijah asked to God to save that child, The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” (1King 17:22-23)

My dear readers, this post will end with contemplation. Anxiety and frightened just make us feel the problems is more severe than the actual reality. So, what for we are afraid and worried if it would only burden ourselves.  The important thing that should we do are, point our hearts and minds on God, not on the problems. Believe in God, not on ourselves. Put “sense of secure” on God, not on treasures. Do the best which to be our part, let God doing His part and then God alone who will make it perfect. He is never too late. With faith in God, we must believe that God will meet all our needs just in time. May not be excessively but sufficient. Amen.

Karina and Sella Irene, Wisdom for the Journey

Photo credit: Google Images

This post is collaboration between me and my sister in Christ from Indonesia, Sella Irene. And special for this post she wrote a beautiful poem titled “The Meshes of Worries” To read her poem please click here.

 

The Lord Is My Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd -Karina's Thought

A few days ago I went to make a visit of condolence the wife of my manager who suddenly passed away. According of his story, it all happened so fast, his wife only complained of headaches and breathless, and a few hours later she passed away. I know this is a very hard for him and his children. Losing someone they love is a very sad thing, especially when occur abruptly.

There is one thing that makes me so touched and amazed. He did not show a deeply sadness. He remained strong, calm and smile to each person who attended the mourning service. Even when he gave a speech, he cites a Bible verse of Psalm:The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack.”(Psalm 23:1)

This verse spoke directly to my heart and makes me ponder. How far we apply this verse in our daily lives? How far we are able to believing it when we experience pain or suffering? David expresses it short but concise, and very clear. He said that whatever happens, he will never lack. Is it because of his strength, his prowess, ability and endurance? Not at all!  David knew that his strength as a human being is very limited. At certain situations, as good as the human ability will no longer be able to do anything. David could say that he will not be lack because realizing the existence of God as a good shepherd of his life. No more and no less.

Let’s dive deeper to the next verses in Psalm 23. We can see and will feel the greatness of God in His role as the Good Shepherd in our lives, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:2-3) This verse feels so comfort and comforting us. These verses came from David who has so many problems in his life. Many times he faced threats, being chased and eliminated from his own people, many times he faced a life-threatening situation, but he could put his entire life and entrusted to the God’s care. David said it all when he is not in having fun, but his faith is enough to give a sense of calm for believing in God as a good shepherd for him. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Verse 4)  Beside believe that God always with him, David has strongly faith that God also prepare everything that he need. Not only has enough but overflowed.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Verse 5)

Both in quiet and difficult times, David realized that God will always be with him, so that he could say: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Verse 6) Very marvelous! It might be easy for us to say these things when we’re in good condition, but how far we can still believing it when the problems are being repeatedly hit us? Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)  Such was the figure of the Shepherd who always protects us as His sheep.  Trouble could come over our lives, but God promises us to still have a life. Not only life but living in all its fullness. Not lack yet in fullness? Yes, right! Although the problems are present in our lives, God promises that His providence could give strength, give relief, protection, give hope, and that’s all He provides not only sufficient but abundantly.

My manager was able to experience how God gave him strength in his difficult times, and he realized that there is no reason for him to be disappointed to God and blame Him. He certainly sad and loses but he also realized though he lost his beloved wife, he believes God still preserve his life and did not show a conclusion that God is not fair. He realized and believes that his wife had gone into the peaceful kingdom which full of joy, where there is no crying and no more suffering again as often we experience in this world. His wife has been in the eternal God’s providence in heaven.

My lovely friends, when we have a situation full of suffering, could we continue to believe that we will never lack the strength? Can we believe that God’s presence will always give reassurance and relief in a heavy burden? When there are events that occur beyond our control, could we rely on unlimited God’s power or we are still busy hanging on our own strength or another human being who have limitation? In any difficult situation, remember that God never leaves us. He will never lose by anything. He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)  These verses show us what a close and beautiful relationship between God as the shepherd and us as His sheep. If we truly comprehend the meaning of these verses and put in the bottom of our heart and minds, why do we have to worry with all the trials and suffering that might happen in our lives?

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) There are no problems that He could not overcome. Believe that God will not remain silent when we really need his touch. Therefore, do not be discouraged, but always be thankful. Make our relationship with God still close and closer day by day, experience God’s presence and providence personally, until at the some point we can say with full confidence as David said, “THE LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not lack.”  Amen.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

Karina

Related Article

Psalm 23 by http://secretangelps911.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: justonemore.info

Persistent All The Time

Proverb 8 17 - Karina's Thought - Sue Nash

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Proverb 8:17

This post was inspired by blog post from my dear sweet sister in Christ Sue Nash who wrote a beautiful poem based on Proverb 8:17 “Before the sunrise – I will seek you “ But I am not truly wrote this post based on her poem. This is just another thought of its verse.

When my mother asked what one of the keys to success in business, my mother replied,” Persistence! Many successful entrepreneurs in the world besides they have a good vision and mission, great business strategies, they also have the perseverance in running the business. However, unfortunately, many of them also fail in their business just because they are not persistent and easy to give up. They are just as excited and determined at the beginning of building a business. Once they are confronted by many problems and obstacles, they did not perseveringly confront all of that.”

I am contemplating on my mother’s statement. I am thinking about the Christians’ life. Many Christians in the early days following the Lord seemed so eager and passionate in the Lord. But as time goes by, their spirit began to fade. Previously they are so diligently serve God but are now beginning to slack. Who previously so diligently take meditating every day, now already much been absent. When they are facing so many problems and trials, they are not persisted but instead they began to slack off. They still have the misconception that being a follower of Christ will be free from problems. Actually, God does not want this thing happens in our spiritual lives

The Holy Bible advises to us, Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11) We have lost our first love for the Lord as happened in the Ephesians’ church.”… You have forsaken the love you had at first.”(Revelation 2:4) Without perseverance, anything we do will never bring maximum results.

Persevering is a strong determination (unwavering) to be serious in doing any task. Persevering also means focused, consistent and not easily give up on what we’re doing. The Bible noted: You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36) Only the people who always are persevere will bear fruit and enjoy the rewards. Luke 8:15 said, But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

We all really longs that the promises of God fulfilled in our lives, but it would be difficult to be realized if we do not have perseverance. Perseverance in prayer and in doing that all God wants in our lives. So persistence is the most important element to get the success. Especially in this era, almost everyone wants everything instantly. Want to get success quickly, but do not want to work hard, want to succeed, but do not want to strive.

How persistence can be formed? James said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1: 2-3)  Through testing we can learn to persevere. That is why sometimes God allows problems happen in our lives in order that we have the perseverance. Persistence also can be formed through the practice. Persistence that does not happen in an instant but needs to be trained from the small matters. How we can persevere in the face of big problems, if we are not persistent facing a small problem.

My dear lovely readers, how about us? How big our persistence? Do we want to be successful in all aspects of our lives? Start by seeking God’s wisdom perseveringly. Ponder the God’s word every day, do it and obey. For whoever finds wisdom, get a life and God will deign to us. “For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.” (Proverb 8:35) Have we meditate and do the word of God with persistent so that we get the blessing and His love?

O Lord, teach us to persevere love and obey Your word in life and our lives. Amen

“If we endure we will also reign with him…..” 2 Timothy 2:12

Karina

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