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The Whole New Creation

The Whole New Creation-Karina's Thought

 

Few days ago when I was gardening, suddenly there was a beautiful butterfly landed on my arm. Closely I watched its colorful wings. It was very, very beautiful. Along I looked to that butterfly, I pondered how amazing and wonderful God’s creation. Butterfly experienced four stages of metamorphosis before becomes a beautiful butterfly. Initially started from the eggs that hatch and give birth to larvae (caterpillars), which may be for many people especially women considered to be a disgusting thing. This caterpillar movement would easily make many people shudder in disgust when seeing or touching it. Then the caterpillar will change into a cocoon, and finally from the cocoon it will come out a beautiful butterfly. Gracefully the butterfly will fly showing its beauty. It is really change in total.
Another thing crossed to my mind. In our Christian living, Metamorphosis that occurs in the butterfly could we use as an analogy / simple model from a change in life. As Christians we change from the old person becomes a new one. I just thinking that indeed the changes that happen to us are no less amazing than the butterfly. When we accept Jesus, we experience a peace process with the Lord. We previously smeared with sins and do not deserve to be saved, now becomes feasible to accept the great salvation solely through the God’s grace and mercy, through the great redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Thus, when we are united with Christ, we also experienced a metamorphosis, totally becomes a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And all of it, once again, comes from God through Christ,

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (2 Corinthians 5:18)

We might previously such as disgusting caterpillars or larvae, now we have a great opportunity to be transformed into a beautiful butterfly with accepting Christ and baptism.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6: 4-5)

When we are baptized as a sign of obedience and our faith in Jesus, all our bad habits and all sin in the past is already death. We restored and transformed. Therefore we should no longer devote ourselves to sins, because the power of sin has been defeated.

 

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. Because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6-7)

A question arises in my mind. In our everyday life, whether we have truly morphed and become a new creation? Have we really left our old life? Whether we already give an impact to others with our new life? And how we live our life as a new creation? In the difficult and tough world today, I often find and see the sad fact that there are many people claim to be Christians but in their daily lives do not reflect as the new creation. For a simple example, in the business world that I involved, I found many entrepreneurs who known as Christians still not reflect as a new creation. Without any sense of guilt and fear, they still compromise with worldly things which are contrary to what is supposed to do as a Christian and as a new creation just for the smoothness of their business sake. They justify the ways that are contrary to God’s command to get their business benefits as they expected. Very sad but that is the fact. They forgot or maybe even deliberately ignoring what God wants from us as a new creation. Paul emphatically said to the Romans,

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

This verse is very clear that God want us truly experience a metamorphosis which is granted by God, like what happened to the caterpillar up to become a butterfly. We have to change our lifestyle, outlook and mindset becomes a new one. If previously we do not know what is pleasing to God, now we know about it, and know what is perfect in God’s eyes. Changes are not just stop at the physical changes alone, but are also able to change what is within us. In the previous verse, Paul also asserted that it is important for us to get to the level where we deserve to give ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God,

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)

Becomes transformed or in my analogy above described as metamorphosis is a beautiful and precious opportunity from God, we should be able to appreciate the amazing grace that God has given to us to live our life as a new creation. All has been bestowed by God to us. The problem is, do we want to make the decision to experiencing the process of becoming a butterfly or just stop being a caterpillar and cocoon only. Are we willing to leave our old life and starting a new better life. As when we wear dirty clothes, we have to throw the dirty clothes then we wear with the clean one. It is impossible if we wearing the new clothes without releasing the old and dirty clothes. Do we are willing and able to leave all of our old dirty lives and abandon all the habits and bad character as Paul said,

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5-6)

It used to be possible we indulge the various desires of the flesh as mentioned in those verses; maybe we even be controlled by it all. But as a new creation who experience a metamorphosis, we have to totally rid it all as it is written in Colossians 3:8-10,

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

On the other side, when we have truly experienced a total change into a new creation, it will enable us spiritually to be fruitful. We changed to become God’s child, to be a “chosen people, holy and beloved”, and in the form of a new creation we have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. (Colossians 3:12-13) We also put love as a binder in perfect unity. (Verse 14-15)
My beloved friends, let we think and ponder these; How our spiritual quality now? Whether we are thirsty and longing to be transformed totally into a beautiful butterfly or our metamorphosis just stop being a cocoon only? If we have really took off our “dirty clothes” or we are just wearing a new clean clothes but behind in it still lags behind the “dirty clothes” Have we totally put to the death all of our earthly nature? This evening, with all humility, I encourage you let’s together to do not waste the opportunity that has been given by God to be changed, Let us not waste the gift of God that we have received by returning to the deeds of our sins as in the past.

 

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

Let’s we win the spiritual warfare against the devil temptations, no longer to be a slave of sin, say goodbye to the darkness live, soon come into the God’s light, living in it and has a light of life.

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12)

We also have to always living in the unity of Spirit and remain walk in the Spirit.

 

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

Then we could become a beautiful butterfly that brings God’s grace, to be fruitful to those people around us, and finally people will call us as “The whole new creation” Are we willing to? Amen.
Karina – Living by Faith
Photo credit: http://www.sharefaith.com
Related article: http://astorybyme.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/butterflies-in-the-darkness/

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Fear Not, For I AM with You

FEAR NOT FOR I AM WITH YOU - Karina's Thought

Once again, I begin this post with my childhood story. I really love swimming. Every day I always spent about 30 minutes to take swim before I go to the office. I was remembering when I was a kid for the first time my daddy taught me to swim. At that time I felt very scared when my daddy carrying me to the pool. “Daddy..! I am scared!” shouted me. But with his gentle smile he said patiently, “My dear little princess, please do not fear. I am with you and will hold you tight. I will not let you drowned. Just trust me, ok. Everything will be fine.” My daddy’s eye gaze and loving smile finally make me trust him. Though I am still afraid but I trust that my daddy will keep me safe.

 
My dear readers, this is about fear. In human life fear is not become a new thing. Fear always be there in every side of our life. Starting from the fear of darkness and other forms of phobias such as heights, enclosed spaces, fear as haunted by the past, even fear facing the future. In the one side, fear could give the positive impact to remind us to not be careless and cautious in making decisions or doing something. But in the other side, if the level of our fear too excessive, it can turn off our spirit and brings us to other losses. Not only makes us cannot grow and evolve, but it can also bring other problems such as health problems, unstable emotion and so on. Even worse, for us a Christians, fears also potentially make us no longer able to hear God’s voice or feel His presence. As we talk with someone, the more we move away from that person, the more difficult we hear his voice. It will be going like that if fear allowed undermining our feelings and minds. Satan will use our fear as a powerful weapon to destroy us. Fear will be widen the distance between us and God and ironically we begin to think that God leaves us alone and even more we dare to accuse God is not loves us.

 
Now, I would like to take you to look at the one bible story. We take a look when Jesus was in the boat with His disciples in the storm. The Bible wrote that after Jesus was in the boat He slept in the stern. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake and makes the disciples panic and fear. (Matthew 8:24) Then the disciples went to woke Him and said, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8:25) What was Jesus’ reaction at that time? When Jesus woke up, he did not say, “Sorry I fall asleep” or “Sorry, I am careless” but please pay attention what Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26) Then Jesus got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. What is the point of this story? The point is faith and trust! This event occurred after Jesus fed 5000 people. The disciples supposed do not need to be afraid because they already knew that Jesus be able to make a miracle. If Jesus can fed 5000 people by only 5 loaves and 2 fishes, He also can be able to overcome the storm. If only the disciples have a strong faith and fully trust to Jesus, they will not be shackled by fear.

 
The disciples’ attitude was also a picture of our attitudes in our lives. Our heart and mind more dominated and controlled by fear so our faith and trust to God getting waver. We forgot that we have God almighty who always be with us and can do anything to help us. At the time, the disciples should not have to be afraid because they are with Jesus the Lord that always preserves them. That’s why Jesus rebuked the disciples because they have so little faith and trust to Him. This is also a rebuke to all of us that we must have faith and trust which greater than our fear.

 
Let’s take a look to another story when the disciples saw Jesus walks on the water. They were frightened and thought Jesus was a ghost. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27) Then Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:28) Jesus said, “Come” (Matthew 14:29). What happens next? Peter was successfully walked on the water. But, when the wind hit him, he was feared and begins to sink. What makes Peter failed to walk on water? Once again, beside he doubts, Peter was afraid! But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30) And for the umpteenth time Jesus rebuked, “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31) Jesus’ rebuke is also addressed to us today. Fear can make us fail to achieve success. Even when the level of our fear is greater than our faith it can obstruct our progress and even our dreams. We could not move on and trapped in the grip of fear.

 
From the two stories above, there is a causal relationship between being afraid and trust. When we talk about trust, we talk about faith. The lack of trust and fait will cause fear in our life. Because of fear, there is no more joy, victory, and peace. My dear lovely friends, what about us now? How big the fear haunts our life? How deep we trust in God? Fear will never disappear from our lives. But if we believe and surrender our lives wholly into the God’s hand that created everything perfectly, why we should be afraid? If God is powerful than anything else promised to continue to accompany, encourage, help and hold us to achieve victory, why should we falter and allow ourselves to continue gripped by fear? I ask you to remember one of God’s promises,

 

 

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)

If we ponder this verse wholeheartedly then we will realize a wonderful promise as an answer of what we face today. If I completely trust to my father who really loves me will keep me safe and not let me drown when taught me to swim, much less to Heavenly Father who created me. I strongly believe that our Heavenly Father really loves us and will keep us safe too in facing any problem and difficulties in life without fear. There is no father who would harm his beloved child. So it is with our Heavenly Father. When God said to us, “Come” We should to be confident and brave to walk and our eyes keep focus only to God. We should totally trust that He will always be with us, and even if during we walk our lives buffeted by the severe storm, He will not let us fall. As was written in Psalm,

 

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)

My lovely friends, I don’t know what kind of fear you face now, but allow me to encourage you, immediately tried to get out and rid out from the shadows of fear. How? Continuously grow and strengthen our faith and trust in God. Keep walk with God and submit all of our worries to Him, wholly trust in His mightiness. Maintain our intimacy with Him through prayer and ponder God’s word day by day. Always embed “Fear not, for I am with you” in the deepest of our heart and mind, make it as our guidance. Always Living in God’s love and feel His perfect love in every step of our life, for there is no fear in love. Amen.

 

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1John 4:18)

Further reading:  http://dbethandrews.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/in-my-prison-of-fear/

 

Karina – Living by Faith
Photo credit: Backhuysen, Rudolf, commons. Wikimedia.org

Someone Behind

SCREEN

Few days ago my husband and I watched again a Christian music concert which was held by Rose of Sharon Church in which one of the singers is my blog friend, Sella Irene. I was really impressed, amazed, and so blessed by their performances. They have a very beautiful voice and incredible musicians as well. I said to my husband, “They are all really impressive!” My Husband replied, “Yes, they are! But please do not forget to those people who are behind them on the stage. I think they also have a very important role in that concert. They have an amazing stage director, very skilled sound engineer, and there are many more people who are very supportive of their performances. Without them all, I guess they could not perform very well. My husband’s answer makes me thinking. Yes, I forget that there are a lot of people behind them who very influential for the success of their performances. In reality, they often miss from our attention. We more focused to those people on the stage.
I remembered one of Jesus’ disciples. Andrew. Andrew was the first Jesus’ disciple. Although he was one of the disciples of the Lord Jesus, but his name is not as famous as Peter, James, Paul, or John, who were said to be the people who are in the inner circle of Jesus’ closest disciples. If I liken Paul, John, and Simon Peter is the main actor in a movie, then Andrew is like a supporting actor which not too stands out and not gives a big impact. However, it does not mean Andrew is not important. Many things have been done that we do not realize because he was a lot of work behind the screens. Let’s dig up what the important things that he did.

 

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). (John 1: 41-42)

 
Let’s pay attention to the word “And he brought him to Jesus.” It was Andrew’s first response when he met Jesus. Andrew was the first person who tells to Peter. At that time, without Andrew’s presence, Simon probably would not meet Jesus. Without the role of Andrew, Probably there is no Simon’s name in the list of disciples of Jesus. We all know that the later Simon Peter became a great apostle. But the important thing is, it all would not have happened if Andrew not brought Peter to Jesus. The interesting thing is, even though he is not as famous as his brother, he did not even include three closest disciples of Jesus, Andrew really did not concerned it at all. With joy and humbly he continued his task.
Another important thing that Andrew did is, when Jesus fed 5000 people. At that time Jesus gave preaching to the thousands people. Then Jesus said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”(John 6:5) then “Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” (John 6:7). Let’s see Andrew’s reaction at that time.

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:8-9)

See? Once again Andrew bring someone came to Jesus. I am sure, at that time Andrew also knows that the food brought by the boy would not be enough to feed about 5000 people. But he still brought that child to Jesus. What happens next? Through the child, a miracle happens. Jesus fed 5000 people only from five loaves and two fishes. This story shows that Andrew is a very caring person. He brought the children to Jesus to be used in the service of the Lord Jesus and the food problem finished. That is Andrew. An apostle was not famous who work behind the screens. Almost never come forth like Paul, John or his brother Simon Peter. But in fact he is a caring person who brought many people to God.

 
There was a Sunday school teacher named Edward Kimball. Who is he? He is just an ordinary Sunday school teacher. But through Edward there was a boy who believed and accepted God as his savior and later on this boy became a very famous and great preacher and evangelist. The boy is. Dwight L.Moody. Through his ministry Moody can make a lot of people in England and America repented. And through Moody’s sermon, a young pastor named Frederic Brotherton Meyer changing his ministry and decided to become an evangelist like Moody. “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?” This was what Meyer said in his preaching, and these words make J. Wilbur Chapman responded God’s call in his life. Later on Chapman become one of the most effective evangelists. Billy Sunday a baseball player, a volunteer in Chapman Ministry eventually took over Chapman’s ministry and become one of the most dynamic evangelists of this century. Billy Sunday’s preaching brought thousands to Christ. Then this evangelism chain finally up on the great name: Billy Graham. Through Billy Graham million people in the world repented and accept God as their savior. If we look carefully to this chronology, it all begins from someone named Edward Kimball. An ordinary Sunday school teacher but through him many people brought to God and make many great names in the evangelism world.

 
My dear friends, what about us in our daily lives? Wherever we are, in the office, church or else, whether we also pay attention to those people who work behind the screens? Are we appreciate and honor them same as those who always come forth on “the stage”? Through this post I would like to ask you to change our mindset to not always focus on who we see on “the stage” Lets always remember that behind their successful there are so many people behind them. If we look and hear a touching and powerful preaching in the church, do not just look to the pastor but please remember that there are people behind them. It may be husband/wife and their children who always give a big support to their ministry. Their roles are really important as well. Let’s always remember that God can use anyone for His Kingdom works even they are not always come forth and unknown to many people. Do not belittle to those people who work behind the screens because sometimes actually we have to learn a lot from them. They are the God’s invisible tools, but so worthwhile. Do not underestimate to those people who work around us which is seem trivial.
And otherwise, for us who always work behind the screens wherever we are, we might not do many great things, and maybe people do not see our work at all, maybe even people underestimate our work, this time I encourage to not be desperate and discouraged. We could learn from Andrew story. We May not do something great but please believe, what we are doing it may be the beginning of great things that will be happen later. I encourage you to always believe and trust that God can use any little thing to declare His power and glory. Probably Simon Peter will not be a great apostle without Andrew. We may not know D.L. Moody without Edward Kimball’s role. Whatever we do, do it with wholeheartedly, faithful, full of diligence, and is only intended for the glory of God. Amen.

 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:23)

Karina-Living by Faith
Image credit: Google Images

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

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