Archives

Facing the GIANT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And confidently we can say:

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

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: gigaom.com

Radical Faith

 

radical-faith-karinas-thought

 

A few days ago, by phone, I made a long conversation with my mom. At the end of conversation, she suddenly asked me something, “How’s your faith today, my princess?” Then confidently I answered, “My faith is good. Very good, mom” However, I don’t know why after the conversation, I kept thinking about my answer of my mom’s question. Right now my personal life, Thank you to God, is in very good condition. I’m not currently facing major problems. There’s a question arises in my mind. What if I’m beset by hard problems and trials? Do I still could say my faith is in Good condition and didn’t waver at all? Do I still have big faith when I’m in the lowest point of life and do not go see any way out? Whether my faith remains well maintained when I had to wait for the God’s answer that not been come? Worse, in life and death situation, could I still uphold my faith and not sacrifice it just the safety of my own life?

My beloved readers, once again this’s about faith. I never bored talk about faith. Faith is a substantial thing in the Christian living. As written in Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I always remember when I was teen my mother said: “We must have a radical faith” Initially I was a bit shocked why she use “radical” to describe toughness of our faith.  In my mind “radical” often used for things that has negative meaning and used to describe a dangerous movement of a group or organization. Actually, radical comes from Latin language “radix” which means “root”  The real sense of  radical is something that leads deep into, down to the roots, to the matters of principle, something very fundamental. So if we refer to the true definition, there’s no negative and dangerous meaning. If we associate with faith so it would mean that radical faith is faith that rooted to the deepest in our life, comes out from the inside and become a strong foundation in all aspects of our lives, a faith that isn’t easily shaken by any kind of threats. This evening I would like to take a bible story that (for me) could be as a great example of radical faith. Let’s take a look to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were bravely against king’s command.

The story begins when the king Nebuchadnezzar made sixty cubit height and six cubits width of an image of gold (Daniel 3:1) He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. (Daniel 3:2) Through the herald, Nebuchadnezzar commanded all nations and peoples of every language should fall down and worship the image of gold when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music. The consequence to those who not obey the command will be thrown into a blazing furnace. (Daniel 3: 4-6) This was a serious and terrible threat and punishment. I believe at the time nobody dared to defy the king’s command and didn’t want to die in vain in the furnace. But among the people, these three young men bravely fight against Nebuchadnezzar’s command. At the very moment, they were brought before the king and said to them, “… if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (Daniel 3:15)

What was their reaction of the king’s threat?  They gave a radical reaction. They said:

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”(Daniel 3: 17-18)

My dear readers, my heart trembled when pondering the answer of these three men. This wasn’t a recklessly or carelessly answer. There’s something very powerful underlies their answers.  There’s something very strong rooted in their heart and mind. I separate their response become two important things.  First, they showed their unswerving conviction to God. They strongly believed that God will save them from the blazing furnace. They had very strong confidence in God who is who He says He is, and will do what He says. Their answer showed that their faith to God has been deeply rooted and too strong to be shaken even by life threats. They showed a faith that strongly depends on the extraordinary power to deliver them from the death.

The second, they remain hardened their hearts to disobey the king’s order even if God doesn’t deliver them and it means they will face the death in the blazing furnace. Once again, they marvelously showed that their root of faith was so strong embedded in their lives so that they were willing to dead as long as not worshiping the image of gold of the king. They didn’t want to sacrifice their conviction and faith solely for the sake of their safety instead they even are willing to sacrifice their own life. Actually, if they follow their lust of the flesh, they obey the king’s command to worship the image of gold then they ask forgiveness to God. What matters is they free from the horrible death. But they completely realize this wasn’t a matter of apologize and forgiveness. This was a matter of fundamental thing that cannot negotiable. This was about faith to God! Once they worship the image of gold it means they have been sacrificing their faith just for the sake of their own safety and there was a tendency they didn’t believe that God will save them from the death. Also because they realize that God loves them so much and they really love God so they still refused to abandon God to worship the king’s gods. This’s a perfect example of radical faith. A faith that deeply rooted and become a foundation, not only focused on the blessings and help of God alone.

After got the answer of these three young men, with furious, Nebuchadnezzar ordered to burn them with fire seventh time hotter than usual (Daniel 3:19) But what happened? Nebuchadnezzar was astonished that the fire didn’t consume these three men. He was even more amazed when he saw not three, but a fourth person with them: “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25 NKJV)

I would ask all of us to ponder these things. If we have the same problem like these three brave men, what we will do? What about our faith? Could we have faith like them? Will we put our faith more than anything else in a precarious situation? Further, could we sacrifice and face the threat of death for the sake of our faith in Christ? It was true they were directly experienced God’s miracle. But once again please consider their radical response, that, even if God decides to not save them, their faith will not be sacrificed.

My beloved friends, in this wonderful Christmas season, please allow me to encourage all of us to make this Christmas as a momentum to renew our faith quality. Let’s make more effort to build radical faith in our lives. Ask to God to always increase our faith like the apostles said in Luke 17:5, “Increase our faith”  Let’s give a very serious attention to the growth of our faith that could totally believe without seeing our circumstances, also never loose of hope. We will never know what will be happen next year. We all know that life isn’t so easy. There’s time God allows trials and difficulties in our lives and God also doesn’t always guarantee that we’ll never suffer or experience death; we may not always understand the purpose of our trials. Let’s accept and live it as a maturing process of our faith. We also have to always remember if God had become the fourth man standing beside Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; it means there’s a firm guarantees God also always standing beside us. Maybe this time we’re in very bad situation, maybe we’re in the lowest point of life; maybe this time we experienced suffering and “fiery persecution” and our faith being tested.  Once again I encourage all of us to always remember that there are assurances from God:

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20), He shall sustain us (Psalm 55:22), He will uphold, strengthen, and help us (Isaiah 41:10)

When God’s help hasn’t come to us, don’t be hasty to doubt God’s ability, much less doubt His existence. God has wonderful plan that give us peace, not evil, and give us future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and we have to remember that everything coming down from our Father is very good and perfect gifts. (James 1:17) If we haven’t got answers from God, don’t despair; still hold God’s promise with radical faith. Not matter there’s blessing, help, and miracle or not, our faith in God mustn’t waver at all. When we experiencing illness, persecution, oppression and all of that might require us to sacrifice our own lives, please always remember that, it’s not the end of our lives. There is life after death. God promises an eternal home to all those who love and obey Him. Jesus Said: “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23)

Let’s celebrate this Christmas not only with party but also by reforming our faith quality so we would have a radical faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Have faith that remains rooted in God, have genuine faith that much more than precious gold (1Peter 1:7). Completely surrender to believe in God’s decision not because of what He can do but simply because we love Him wholeheartedly. Amen

My beloved readers, this post will be my last post this year. I will come back next year. I, my husband, and our little son Andrew say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” to all of you. Hope and pray that all of you will experience wonderful and unforgettable holiday season this year. God bless you.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: Google images

Break The Wall

break-the-wall-karinas-thought

Hello my dear readers! I am happy could come back to the blog with my own post and I am grateful to God in the middle of my busyness this evening I could write something to share.

A few days ago one of my business friends invited me to visit her new house.  She built a new big and luxury house that surrounded by thick and high wall. I felt a bit weirdness when saw the house from the outside; the house looks more like a fortress. My husband jokingly said, “Maybe this wall could only be destroyed by missiles. Or we must march around for seven days like Jericho wall”

I smiled but suddenly remembered about the story of Jericho wall (Joshua 6:1-27). As we all know the Jericho wall destructed by the irrational and unique ways. After spending forty difficult years wandering in the desert of Sinai, they came to the eastern banks of the Jordan to take the Promise Land and they were facing first obstacle. The City of Jericho! Jericho city was surrounded by virtually impregnable thick massive stone. But Jericho wall was successfully destructed (seemingly) by a foolish strategy.  This  was a strategy that given by God to Joshua: All men of war and seven priests that bear seven trumpets of rams before the ark must around the city once a day for six days. On the seventh day they shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. When the sound of trumpets sounded they must shout with a great shout and the wall will fall down flat. (Joshua 6:3-5) Like most war stories, normally a giant fortress could be destructed only by enormous military force with all its weapons. But in fact, Jericho wall destructed not by military strategy and force but by beyond the logic supernatural power.

My beloved readers, in this post please allow me to share two valuable things that I learned from Jericho story. I hope and pray it could be a great lesson for us and could be applied in our lives.

 God’s promises, Faith, and Obedience

In my thought, there is an integral relationship between God’s promises, our faith, and obedience. When God promise to us, He will definitely fulfill His promises. God said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. (Joshua 6:2) This isn’t just a statement but rather to guarantee of God’s promise. God didn’t say: “…I will” but He even said “I have given…” even though the victory over Jericho was guaranteed but it wasn’t automatically. Israelite had to follow instructions from God.  Though God’s instruction seems odd and silly Joshua remains followed God’s command without asking and protest at all! Then Joshua said to the priest and his people:

“Take up the Ark of the Covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.”  And he said to the people, “Proceed, and March around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.” (Joshua 6: 6-7)

Here, faith and obedience plays an important role so Joshua and his people got victory over Jericho. We can see the obedience manner of Joshua. I imagine if only Joshua didn’t obediently follow God’s instruction, I strongly believe the Jericho wall wasn’t necessarily collapsed and the Israelite will never enter to the Promise Land. Why Joshua and his people could be obey to do God’s command? The answer is because they have faith. It is written in Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days” although in the past Israelite’ faith had frequently failed, at the time by faith they believed and trusted God and His promises and they did God’s command obediently. It means they saved by faith and their faith evidenced by obedience. Here we can learn something important. When there are so many hurdles and problems in our lives and God give instructions that seemed doesn’t make sense to do, let’s accept the instructions by faith and do it obediently. It is written in Deuteronomy 13: 4, “It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him”.

We must remember that God can use anything even the most unreasonable thing to declare His unlimited power. There was so much evidence in the Bible God showed His power through the irrational ways and beyond the range of human logic. God is never wrong. Any God’s instructions and commands has become a part of His plans and God’s entire plan is plan to prosper us and plans to give us hope and future, even not to harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11) We just need to trust by faith and obey it as our real deed. The scripture says that “Faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26) Joshua and his people showed their faith through deed by obey carried out God’s command and conquered Jericho and God fulfilled His promise by gave them victory over an enemy that was trying to keep them out of the Promised Land.

God’s way or our way

The second thing we could learn from this story is about God’s way. There is a vast difference between God’s way and the human way. It is written in Isaiah 55:8-9,

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

I would like to take you to imagine the physical condition of Jericho wall. I am so sorry couldn’t take much time to explore deeper to find out the authentic information about the size of the wall. Below is the specification of the wall that I got from my father’s Bible archaeology books. Let’s take time a moment to imagine it. Jericho was surrounded by a great earthen rampart with stones retaining wall at its base, the size of retaining wall was around 12-15 feet high. On the top of that was 6 feet thick of mud brick wall and 20-26 feet high. There was similar mud brick wall on the crest of the wall with around 46 feet high above the ground level. Other archaeological discovery stated that Jericho wall consists of 2 layers. 6 feet thick on the outside wall, 12 feet thick on the inside wall, and the distance between outside and inside wall was around 12-15 feet. My dear friends, no matter about the size and construction, by human logic and reason this wall was very difficult to penetrate even impenetrable. If it can be, as I said before the wall must be destructed by very enormous military force but the fact Jericho wall was destructed didn’t by military weapons force but even by the very unique way.

In our daily lives, when the problems and obstacles hit us, which way we chose to overcome? Whether we remain chose God’s way even though His way looks so strange? Or we even chose our own understanding and way? The story of Jericho reminds and teaches us that God’s way is higher than our way. The world gives so many alternatives to solve our problems but once again we have to remember that God’s way isn’t our way. Personally, I’ve often felt God provide remarkable way and beyond of my mind to solve my problems. You know, when God gives an instruction or command, we must be fully aware that it’s God’s way and we must believe that God’s way is always the best for us. So there is no reason at all we still stand on our own understanding and disobey His command because God said:  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverb 3:5)

Dear, friends. What about us now? If this time you and I are surrounded by “thick wall” of problems of life?  Is there a “giant wall” that hinder God’s promises and blessings get into our lives?  Whether we want to break it down but we don’t have enough power?  This evening allow me to encourage all of us to learn from the Jericho story. Thousand years ago God showed His amazing way to tear down the Jericho wall. So it’s with us today. God will provide the amazing way to break our “Wall”. God will give us victory over the “enemies” that we face throughout life. Let’s ask to the Lord to show His miracle ways. Let’s hear His instruction heartily, accept it, believe it by unwavering faith and do it obediently. By faith, let us bear in our hearts and minds that there are no walls as thick as anything that cannot be break if God pleased. Don’t ever under estimate God’s way because actually He is the way (John 14:6) and our ways aren’t His way. Don’t ever rely on our own thoughts because His thoughts aren’t our thoughts. There is nothing impossible before God (Luke 1:37) and God does His best work in impossible situation.

Let’s keep our faith remain working together with action and make our faith complete by what we do (James 2:22) let’s prove our faith by obedience. Let’s show our faith to other as evidence that we truly believe God will always fulfills His wonderful promises. By faith and obedience to God we can conquer all “wall” of problems in our lives and we could be a winner. Amen

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: Google images