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Hello, dear readers! How’s you going? I hope and pray everything going okay with all of you. I grateful to God today I have a bit time to post a new post. This time I just want to share wise words that I got from (once again) from my mom. Coincides with my parents’ new restaurant that will officially opened in December, my mom gave me a photo containing wise words about positive thinking. Here it is…

Karina – Living by faith

Rebecca Fong

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You In The Eyes of God

 

At my parents’ new house in Paris, they used one room of the house as their private library. When I was helping them put the books on the shelf, I saw a small diary that written by hand writing “You in the Eyes of God” and there is my mom’s signature under the right corner on its cover. Don’t know why, I was tempted to saw the content of the diary. After I got permission from my mom to read her diary, at first I thought it was just a random thought of my mom but the more I read I became aware that the writing wasn’t just a random thought but rather to contemplation and it made my heart touched. My dear friend, this evening I love to share what my mom wrote about. Here it is…

You in the eyes of God

If Jacob saw Joseph as a good child,

If in the eyes of his ten brothers, Joseph was a useless dreamer

 If in the eyes of Midianite traders looked Joseph as a slave

If Potiphar saw Joseph as wise man, and as a lover in the eyes of Potiphar’s wife

In the eyes of God Joseph was an Egypt young king candidate.

 People could look you with the different point of view and assessment. So it is with God. God has His own way to see you through His eyes. God said,

For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

When you are disparaged by people around you, don’t be discouraged, don’t be disappointed, and don’t be sad, because God has His own way and reason how He sees and judges you. Only God knows who you really are.

If God wants and wills,

 An office boy in your office could be a CEO in your own company.

God could make nothing to be something, impossible to be possible

And,

He doesn’t care about your age. God blessed Abraham in his very old age.

He doesn’t care about your ability. God chose Moses as Leader of Israelites

He doesn’t care about your experience, He chose David a young shepherd as a King of Israel

He doesn’t care about the gender, He chose an orphan, Esther, as a queen

He doesn’t care about someone who have dark past, Paul had dark past but God chose him.

God doesn’t care about one’s social status. God choose a hated person, corruptor, traitor of the Nation, and sinner. God was choosing Zacchaeus’ house to stay.

How people look you, it doesn’t matter. How God looks you, it does matter.

In the eyes of God,

You are Father’s child

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)

You are the precious and Honor in the God’s sight, and loved by God.

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you… (Isaiah 43:4)

You were redeemed by God, belongs to God

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

 You are protected by God

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2)

The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. (Psalm 121:5)

You are no longer a servant, but God’s friend.

 I no longer call you servants; Instead, I have called you friends. (John 15:15)

You are set by God

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

God has wonderful plan for you

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)

You are who will always get the fulfillment of God’s promise

…not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. (Joshua 23:14)

You are who always get God’s help in the midst of the hard times

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)

You are who always receive every of your prayers in the Name of God

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)

You were chosen by God with a special task. Bear fruit!

… But I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit (John 15:16)

After I read my mother’s writing I hug her and said, “Mom, thank you for this important reminder” then she said, “Finally you read it now.  Please always keep it in your heart and mind. When people degrade you, doubt your ability, or even maybe assume that you’re nothing, please remember that in the eyes of God you are so special because God created us in a special way. God ended His work with a “personal touch” God formed us from the dust of the earth and gave us live by breathing His own breath. And remember this; we also created in His likeness so we may rule over the other creatures. But don’t ever underestimate people around you for you don’t ever know what God’s plan to those around you. Be good always, my dear princess”

My Dear readers, not only for me, I hope and pray this post could be a reminder and strengthening for all of us. In the eyes of God we’re special. People might don’t like us, maybe we’re worthless in the eyes of human, but in God we’re precious, honored, and loved. Amen

Karina – Living by faith

“You in the Eyes of God” by Rebecca Fong

Image source: Google Images.

 

Trust on the Each Piece

After formally retiring from all of his business activities, my father spent his daily time with gardening and playing with his grandson. But now he has a new hobby. Now he really interested playing jigsaw puzzle. Few weeks ago he asked me to buy some jigsaw puzzle from small to the large size. Excitedly he could spend for hours patiently along with my mom or alone choosing piece by piece of jigsaw puzzle then putting it together to the frame until the picture of puzzle formed perfectly. Though I’m not too interested to play jigsaw puzzle, I love watching its process. We all know what picture we will get from a box of jigsaw puzzle. We also know how many pieces of each jigsaw puzzle, but to make the picture complete need long process.

Every time I see the process of making a jigsaw puzzle, I always think about life in this world especially as a Christ follower. A jigsaw puzzle is a very good example to depict the parts of our lives. We live this life piece by piece, begin when we were in the wombs, then we were born, growing up, and become a mature. It’s called a life process and in that process, at times in one moment, period or the pieces of our life, beside happy things we have to experience and feel many unpleasant or even painful things. We may have to suffer because having big problems, maybe we should be mourning caused loss someone we love. When my father putting a piece of puzzle, he sometimes made mistakes or my son, Andrew, messed it up, and have to start all over again, so it’s with our lives, maybe there’s a part we have failed, whether in career, marriage, family, and many other aspect of life and we have to rise from the failure and start again from the beginning. All of it is parts of plan and grand design of God to us.

One similarity between the jigsaw puzzle and our lives is, both has own design and there’s a process in it. The difference is we already know for sure the design of the jigsaw puzzle but we often pretty hard to know what God’s plan to us is and what the grand design for the whole of our lives. Isn’t become a problem when our lives always running well but become a problem when we’re in difficult and unpleasant situation. We will start to ask God why we should to have all unpleasant things, we will begin to complain to God why have to suffer and why should to fail. Is this a part of God’s plan? What God actually wants?

Once again there’s a process completing a jigsaw puzzle and in the process is our own decision to choose each piece of puzzle to put it on the frame based on our own understanding or follow the provided tips and trick. Once we made a mistake then the main design will not formed perfectly. As well as the process of our live, as a human we are totally free to make and choose a decision to assemble each part of our lives. The question is, when we have to make decision and choice, to whom should we must rely and trust?  Whether we lean and trust on our own understanding, conviction, and ability or we totally surrender to God, completely trust in Him, and make God’s word as a great guide?

Dear readers, the process that we live isn’t an instant process but long process where there are times we have to cry, there’re times we’ve to suffer, there are moments we’ve to fail, and in the process of assembling all pieces of our lives, we cannot fathom God’s work, we cannot understand what God’s purpose is, we cannot even understand why we should have hard season in a process because our way is not God’s way, our thought isn’t His thought. God’s position is much higher than us.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

So, what should we do? There’s no other way besides handing over all the processes of our lives to God, doesn’t lean on our own strength, and trust completely in God. God’s word very firmly said:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding”  (Proverbs 3:5)

 Here, our faith plays important role.  Faith will enabled us to know and trust no matter how difficult the process, no matter how many tears, no matter how many times we failed, God’s plan and purpose is always beautiful as He has promised that:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

 When the beautiful time comes?  Next week?  One year later? How long we have to wait? Well, we don’t know when and how long we have to wait for. Maybe need tens of years like the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. Maybe like Joseph who experienced suffering and injustice for 20 years before he became ruler of Egypt. Or maybe like Noah who struggled more than 100 years to build an ark as God command. We don’t know, my dear friend. There’s nothing happens instantly. All need process and through process we live, God actually guiding us until we’re ready to see His beautiful plans. In time we will rejoice to see His beautiful plan that has been conceptualized flawlessly. Moreover, through uncertainty, confusing and hard time, failure, and all unpleasant things in our life, actually God has a purpose in order that we getting closer to Him day by day and our faith grow stronger. Eventually by faith that sees the invisible, believe the unbelievable, and receive the impossible*, we are able to really trust that God’s plan are always beautiful as He said to us:

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)

My beloved friends, we are currently assembling piece by piece puzzle of our lives and we cannot skip one of it. Each piece has its own place. Maybe this time we cannot see the final result the grand design of our lives. We cannot know the end of our journey; we cannot know the ending of our story. Our life isn’t like reading a story book where we can easily flipping to the last page so we could know the ending of the story or simply choosing the certain chapter that we like. We must live each chapter of our live in complete.

We cannot figure out what tomorrow will bring and what lies ahead. What we can do is, by strong faith put each piece of our life to God. Believe that every single piece of our lives is parts of God’s grand design, still being sensitive to hear God’s voice, remain faithfully follow His guide step by step, though we will have difficult time and even painful, keep trust that God is always with us as He promise  to us:

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

We don’t have to worry about our future. If God finally gave the Israelites Promise Land after long and hard journey in the desert, If thousands years ago God finally made Joseph as the greatest man in his era after facing hard times due to the ruthless betrayal did by his family, if God finally saved Noah from the flood, it all will also happens to our live now. If our lives seems too difficult to face, if our puzzle of life seems so mess and formless, please don’t worry and strongly believe God will not let us alone. He said to us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”(Hebrews 13:5)  Don’t ever lose of hope because God is source hope and He gives us hope (Psalm 62:5, 1 Timothy 1:1) We have to trust that each piece of our lives designed by God and become a part of His great plan for our lives, and at the end, our puzzle slowly but sure will be revealed, the jigsaw puzzle of our lives will be complete, and we can see the beautiful grand ‘Image” designed by God remarkably. Amen

Note:

This post was inspired by a wonderful post “How Will My Story End?” Wrote by my beloved blog friend Anna Bachinsky  Please kindly visit her awesome blog and read her wonderful posts. Thank you for your inspiring post, dear Anna.

Karina – Living by faith

*Faith quote by Corrie ten Boom

Image source: cdn.shopify.com

 

 

 

Smyrna, The suffering Church

 

SMYRNA, THE SUFFERING CHURCH - Karina's Thought

To be followers of Christ then our lives completely secure, free of problems, enjoy life without any obstacles at all. Have a life with abundance blessings, and live in prosperity.  I thought this is a misconception about following Christ and sadly, this concept is currently held by many people and becoming a benchmark when they decided to follow Christ.  Personally, I know a businessman who suddenly decided accept Christ in order to save his business that is threatened with bankruptcy. Today, there are many wrong purposes in following Christ. They only think about blessings, help, and miracles from God. Actually, we all know that being a Christ follower doesn’t mean that we will be hundreds percent have a safe life, trouble-free, and without any obstacles.  In fact, when we become a Christ’s follower, we will face so many trials and our faith will be tested.  It is so easy we says, “God is so good” when our lives is free of problems and there is no obstacles and pressure at all. But the question is, have we remain easily say, “Good is so good” when we have so many life pressure and in a very hard situation? Can we remain being faithful and obedient even though our lives in unpleasant condition? These are questions which the answer will indicate how far we love and believe in Him.

My brother and sister in Christ, this evening I would like to take all of us to learn from one of seven churches that received the message from God in the book of Revelation 2. Let’s take a look to the church in Smyrna. Smyrna was a seaport city about 40 miles north of Ephesus. It has been described as the most beautiful of the seven cities. Today it is called Izmir, Turkey. Scripture does not give us any information concerning the founding of this church, nor is it mentioned in the book of Acts. Presumably, this church was founded during Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. Smyrna is the Greek word for myrrh, a flagrant perfume used in burial. Many believe that this church represents the martyrs of all the ages and the sweet-smelling fragrance of their faithfulness until death. There was no rebuke for this church and because they were faithful until death. Why the church in Smyrna mentioned as the martyrs of all the ages and sweet-smelling fragrance of their Faithfulness? Actually, the life of the church in Smyrna was contrary to the conditions the city of Smyrna itself. The church of Smyrna was the suffering church. How suffered they are? Let’s have a look together.

I know your afflictions and your poverty… (Revelation 2: 9 NIV)

The church of Smyrna suffered because of the pressure of the Roman government, at the time, made it mandatory that all citizens should worship the emperor or they will facing the death. They must burn incense and acknowledges that the emperor is God. Here lies the root of the problem. The church in Smyrna refused to do all that and they considered as unpatriotic traitors. Then the affliction begins. Many of them were boiled alive, many others were roasted alive, some crucified, or the Roman authorities took them to the coliseum and fed to the angry and hungry lions.

The church in Smyrna lived in poverty. Based on some of the commentary on the book of Revelation I have read, they were not only poor but they absolute poor. They were absolutely didn’t have anything.  They cannot live their lives normally. They hated, boycotted, people didn’t want to make a trading with them just because they were Christians. They cannot develop their work; there was no way to make a living, and worse it seems the all city dwellers trying to make them starve.

The affliction does not stop there, there is another one. The church in Smyrna was slandered.

I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2: 9b NIV)

The Jews was making false allegations and reported it to the government. They slandered that the Christians make a practice of cannibalism, immorality, considered atheists, people instigator, and a family crusher.

Another affliction is the church in Smyrna had long suffering.

…I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days… (Revelation 2:10 NIV)

Verse 9 talking about the suffering that has been experienced by the church in Smyrna, but the verse 10 speaks of the suffering that are still will experienced by them. There are many Bible commentators assume that “ten days” refers 10 period of time of suffering for the God’s church that will be experienced during the reign of ten anti-Christ Roman emperors.  And it was true; history noted that there were around five millions Christian dies as a martyr during ten period of Roman emperor.

What lessons that we can take from the church in Smyrna?  After I study deeper this passage, I thought there are two important things we can learn. Being fearless and be faithful. God gives two instructions to handle their suffering.

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer… Be faithful, until death(Revelation 2: 10 NASB)

Do not be afraid and be faithful! God said these with His omnipotence and omnipresence (These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. Verse 8) and His omniscience (I know your afflictions and your poverty. Verse 9) and the church in Smyrna chose to be fearless and be faithful. They are not afraid to die to defend their faith in Christ. Polycarp, a pastor in Smyrna offered freedom by governor if he willing to deny The Christ. But He said: “for 86 years I have served Him and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my king and my savior?” Before Polycarp was burned, he prays, “Oh Lord, almighty God, I thank you for counting me worthy of sharing the cup of Christ among the number of your martyrs”. The church at Smyrna knows He is the Word that is the first and the last. What this means is that He is God who fought in the entire history of this world and have full authority over what happens. They also realized and understand in their suffering God always be with them and even will strengthen them. Suffering because of their faithfulness is not due God forgetting to help them but rather God is present in their lives.

My dear friends, what about us today? What season of life are we in today? Maybe we are in a season that everything is going great and we just love life. Things are running smoothly. We are so in love with the Lord. Every day there is just a wonderful surprise and we are just in a great season of life. But I going to tell one thing that God never promises us as a believer that life is going to always be fun. He never promises us that life is just going to be great. As a matter of fact, He promises us that if we are a believer, we will face suffering and you will have some persecution in our life.

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)

Jesus Himself reminded:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24 NIV)

This evening,  allow me to encourage all of us to learn from the church in Smyrna. We may be hated by the world, received unfair treatment, insulted, slandered, and so on, but it should not make us turn away from God. Jesus had reminded this thing. He said:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:18-19 NIV)

Let’s emulate the church in Smyrna to remain faithful, never give up, and keep stand firm in their faith despite the torment and suffering continue come upon them. And eventually, they got great rewards. There are two rewards from God. The first is “The Crown of life”

…and I will give you the crown of life. ( Revelation 2 : 10 NASB)

The second reward is, “The Eternal life”

He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2 : 11 NASB)

As a believer, we do have eternal life and He is saying we may suffer the first death, we may die physically, but spiritually we will never die again.

If today we facing so many severe pressures, problems, treated unfair, and any form of inconveniences, Please remember God said:  

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV)

Do not grumble when there is a problem, do not despair and give up. There is a crown of life and eternal life that God provides to all of us who remained faithful to God in all circumstances. Just as the church in Smyrna, let us prove the strength of our faith in Christ through fortitude, obedience and faithfulness whatever our situation. Amen

Karina – Living by faith

Supporting material resources:

Clarke, Adam. Commentary on Revelation, studylight.org

Keeth, Janane. Rekindle the Fire (Revelation 2-3), bible.org

The Pulpit commentaries, revelation 2, studylight.org

Related post:

https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/daily-devotion-july-21-2015

http://tworiversblog.com/2015/12/10/smyrna-i-know/

 

 

Image credit:  The Church in Smyrna. padfield.com

He Will Carry You

HE WILL CARRY YOU-Karina's Thought

 

In the morning, thousand years ago, stood two men who are physically and power was completely not comparable. The one had six cubits and a span height. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore five thousand shekels bonze coat of scale armor. He also wore bronze greaves on his legs, and a bronze javelin with six hundred shekels weight on its iron point was slung on his back. While the other one, a young man without any body armor and just armed with a sling. It seems a pretty unbalanced fight will be happen. Logically, we all certainly know who the winner of the fight is. But we also know very well who finally the winner becomes. Yes! The young man was the winner.  This is a very famous story about young man named David and a giant named Goliath.

Why I begin this post with the story of David and Goliath? In these past weeks I really had a hard time. I had many big problems in the office. One problem hasn’t resolved, the other problem already waiting. Knowing that I have many hard problems, my husband tried to encourage me by read again the Bible passage about David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.  He said, “This story doesn’t resolve our problems, but there’s a relation between this stories with us today and we can learn from it. Let’s change the figure of the giant with the problems that pressing us today and place ourselves as a young David. Why did David successfully defeat a giant simply by using a stone and sling?”

My beloved readers, Yes! Through this story we can through learn through David how to facing “the giant” which mean our big problems.

Not focus on the problems but to God

When the Israelites faced the Philistines, they were dismayed and terrified because they only looked to the problems and it weakens their mental. But wasn’t to David. A young David not focused to the big problems but he rather focused on who should to rely and who will be with him. Let’s see David’s reaction when heard the Philistines’ threats and intimidation:

David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? (Verse 26)

How David can say like that?  Because he not constantly focusing to the magnitude of the problem but rather focusing to the living God who be with him. Our minds tend to work like a magnifying glass. The more we focus on our problems, it will look bigger and bigger in our minds and it will not change anything and we can even completely immersed in it. How big our problems today? Is it greater than God’s power so that God no longer be able to help us? Of course not! There’s no problem too big God cannot solve it. If we always focus to God we will not intimidated by the problems but we could remain calm facing and overcome our big problems. God said,

“In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength…”

(Isaiah 30:15 NIV)

Do not lose heart

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” (Verse 32)

Let’s examine how David can be so confident against Goliath and compare it with the Israel army that in fact highly trained and experienced. Isn’t it feels very strange a young man who everyday just herding cattle his father but boldly advised the king of Israel and his troops? David emboldened for he knew exactly who was behind him. David knew that if God is with him, he didn’t need to fear and lose heart to anything. Instead, David took an advantage from Goliath who had giant body. Goliath’s body will become an easy target. This is an attitude of an abundant faith that can give superb results. Why we could be losing heart? Just because our point of view merely focuses on the magnitude of the problems so we forget that God always be with us.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

Learn from the experience

I’m wondering why David technically can be so convinced and courageous to face Goliath. By only looking at the completeness of the arms, very obvious that David wasn’t comparable against Goliath and Saul actually doubted his ability. (Verse 33) But let’s look at the following verses:

But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 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.”(Verse 34-37)

Yes, David could be bravely and confident because He learns for his experience as a shepherd. Through his own experience he has been felt how God protect him if there was the beast wanted to attack his sheep. When facing the problems David immediately opened his life journey book, recalling his experiences when felt The God’s power and care. For David, Goliath is nothing more than a lion that has been conquered with the Lord. If God is able to make David be able to beat the beast, why should he afraid to face Goliath?

In the book of Psalm 46:1 (AMP) says that: God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. The word of well-proved was stating something that has happened. The Psalmist knows that his life filled with so many proofs how the God’s power can help us in distress, how God is able to be a refuge and strength as a solution or an answer of every of our problems. If thousand years ago God can help David against Goliath, as well as today, God also still can help us to defeat our big problems.  God is never changes.

“For I am the Lord, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6 NKJV)

As well as with Jesus, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV) Each of us certainly been faced a very severe problem, and we also must have experienced how marvelous God help us solve our problems. If today we again confronted by so many severe problems, don’t be afraid and discouraged because God will remain help us again. Please remember He will never change.

Nothing shall be impossible with God

In the previous post I had discussed and learned that nothing shall be impossible with God through the story of the Israelites against the Moab. Here, through the story of David and Goliath, once again we can see another proof that there’s nothing impossible with God. Because David wasn’t used wearing and using the arms, he said to Saul: “I cannot go in these, because I am not used to them. “ Then he chose a sling and stones. (Verse 38-40) David realized that he wasn’t familiar and untrained using the arms. He will go against Goliath who wore the complete war equipment only with a sling and a stone. Something extremely impossible, isn’t it? But David realized that it wasn’t about the arms but it was about the God hand will work through the simple arms that he uses. He truly believes that as long as God be with, there’s nothing impossible with God. David also believes that a sling and stones in God’s hand can be a potent weapon to defeat Goliath. And it was proved. This was another example attitude of an abundant faith from David.

As I said in my previous post, when we facing very big problems we tend to think that our problems are impossible to be resolved. We tend to only focus on our problems with our limited logic and mind. We forget that there is God who in control all of our lives. Today, once again we can learn through this story that there’s nothing impossible with God. David triumphed over Goliath with a sling and a stone. Without a sword in his hand he struck down Goliath and killed him. This was a proof that nothing shall be impossible with God.

My beloved readers, is there any among us today are being confronted with a “Giant” problems and our shoulder burdened by very hard problems? We become afraid and lose heart, think that we couldn’t handle it, and it seems impossible to be resolved? This evening, allow me to encourage all of us to learn from David to face our problems. David said:

“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. (Verse 45)

Let us learn to bravely say the same thing to the problems that intimidate us. Problem may come attack us with the complete arms but we are ready to face it in the name of the Lord. We may not have a complete arms but we have God’s power that more powerful than any kind of arms.  The “giant” problems may come to us, the storm of problems probably trying to hit us, but we have to know that there’s no one problem bigger than God. He will carry the weight of our problems upon His shoulders. And if because of the problems we become weary and burdened, God said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

I will end this post with a song that I always hear when I face so many big problems. This song truly could strengthen, bring me comfort, rest, and remind me that there’s no problem too big God cannot solve it. “He Will Carry You” Amen.

I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)

Karina – Living by faith

Photo credit: vinnie1982.deviantart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Friend We Have In Jesus

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

 

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

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

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

(John 15:15a NIV)

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

Love

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

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

Sacrifice

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

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

Closeness

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

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

Receptiveness

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

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

Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(James 4:4 NIV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karina – Living by faith

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

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

 

 

The Faith of The Centurion

THE FAITH OF THE CENTURION -Karina's Thought

 

Today, my yearly Bible reading reached to the book of Matthew 8 and I am interested to share a bit what I have learned from the Centurion of Capernaum in verse 5 to 13. Even though this passage talks about faith of the centurion, I got another important lesson from this centurion.  There are three important things we could learn from this passage. Let’s have a look together.

 Mercy

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help for his paralyzed servant at his home. (Matthew 8:6 NIV) The centurion came to Jesus not because he is sick but he felt so sorry with his servant’s suffering. As a leader, would be so easy for him to cast away his servant and find a new one. But let’s see, he was willing to spent his time and try hard to meet Jesus. Here we could see that the centurion not just had a mercy but also accompanied with action by asking for help to Jesus. He did something concrete.

A question arises in my mind. In this very difficult live today, how big our mercy to our friends or relatives who are in difficult situation and need our hand? Whether our mercy has been accompanied with action? It is easy to have mercy but we may not easy to help them concretely. We may tend to have sympathy but difficult to have empathy. I often heard the old and classic reason: “How we could help others if ourselves in the difficult and shortcomings situation?” I remembered with the church in Macedonian. In the midst of very severe trial, they still have overflowing joy in giving and they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. (2 Corinthians 8:2-4 NIV) Maybe this time we do not like the church in Macedonia who is in poverty but are we already have generosity to give a little we have for those who are in need? Are we already have mercy that accompanied by action? It is very good to show a mercy and sympathy, but in reality oftentimes it is not enough to lighten those who have burden concretely.

Actually, God takes into account all mercy that we show to our neighbor no matter how small it is. Jesus said: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV) In our daily lives I often see the contrary situation to what was done by this centurion. The higher one’s position they lose their sense of mercy for others. This centurion has great mercy regardless of his position or status. And did not merely have sense of mercy but he revealed with the real action. This centurion of Capernaum can be a role model to us to always remember to have sense of mercy to others no matter their position lower than us or not because God alone has a great mercy to us and He will forget our sins.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12 NKJV)

Humility

Now let’s take a look at the second important thing from the centurion of Capernaum. Humility! Yes this centurion had humility. Let us examine together. After Jesus knew the centurion ask for help to heal his servant, Jesus said that He wanted to come to the centurion’s house and heal his servant.

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

(Matthew 8:7-8 NIV)

Let’s pay attention to the centurion reaction. He did not say: “Yes, that is I want from you. Please come to my house and heal my servant immediately” but let’s look at his answer on verse 8: “Lord I do not deserve to have you come under my roof…”  Here we can see the sense of humility of this centurion. There are two things that show the centurion’s humility. First, let us notice to his efforts to meet Jesus in order to his servant to be healed. I imagine one thing. As a centurion, I do believe he has a lot of soldiers. It will be easier he ordered one of his men to go to meet Jesus. But he did not do it. He did it himself. The second thing is he felt unworthy to have Jesus come to his house. This centurion really realized who he was and that was clearly reflected in the following verse:

“For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me…. “(Verse 9)

This humble centurion truly realized that he is not the highest person in the world. He still has a leader and above of all he really realized that he was dealing with the King of kings.

To be honest, this part immensely touched my heart, become a rebuke, and makes me asking to myself. As a person who has position in the company, whether I already have humility in the eyes of all who are under me? This centurion becomes a great reminder to me. Although I have high position and big authority but there is still my parents who in fact is the owner of the company. Every single policy and decision that I take still needs their approval. And more than it all, there is God who created and become the owner of all in this world. This time maybe God bless us with the very high position and have full authority in a company, an organization or wherever we are. Be grateful for that and be grateful God entrust us to sit on the high position. But we must always remember to keep being humble. Remember that all of it is blessing from God. If we are become arrogant, God will not be pleased and anytime He can take it all back from us. Let us learn from the centurion of Capernaum to always has humility as God commanded,

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2 NIV)

… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)

Great Faith

My beloved readers, now we come to the part that become a title of this passage. For me, this section is the most important thing that I got and learned from this centurion.  It is talk about something that becomes a foundation in the Christian living. Now we talk about faith. The centurion had something great and awesome. He had a great faith. Let’s take a look again to the verse 8.

For he was not worthy to have Jesus come in his house, then he said: “But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” I am so impressed with his word. This is amazing words that show such a great faith. His faith made him believe that God has a mighty power that is not limited by the dimensions of space and time. His faith also made him believe that through one word, Jesus has incredible power to do a healing miracle to his servant who far away in his house without Jesus’ touches hand directly. When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those following Him:

“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Verse 10)

 I imagine what I will do if one day my baby boy is sick then I ask my pediatrician come to my house but unfortunately he could not come and just give me suggestions what I have to do. Perhaps I will remain force the pediatrician come to my house because I will not satisfied and believe if I not see my doctor directly cure my baby. Oh, how much I want to have great faith like this centurion. Without need to look directly Jesus heal his servant, his great faith makes him believe that his servant will definitely healed. And it is proven. Jesus said, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. (Verse 13)

This time I will not deliver my thought about faith too much. I have written some posts which talk about faith and there are so many other excellent posts in the blog which talk about the same thing. Right now I just want to all of us to take a moment asking ourselves: How big our faith now? Whether we already have a great faith like this centurion? Are we having a great faith that makes us believe a miraculous thing will surely happen without we need to see it first? How deep these following verses embedded in our heart?

“…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b NIV)

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

Whether our faith can make us believe something invisible, believe something unbelievable and make us believe can receives something impossible [i] as we believe there is God even we cannot see His real figure? Let’s together examine ourselves again how the quality of our faith today.

My dear friends, at the end of this post I encourage all of us to learn from the centurion of Capernaum wholeheartedly. Let us unite in prayer, pray for one another so that in every step of our lives, we have great mercy and accompanied with real action for our neighbor regardless of whom they are and no matter whom we are. Let us also remain have the humility even though we have a high position and authority wherever we are. Although there is no one higher than us, still remember there is God who the highest of the high. And the most important thing let us always maintain our faith in God. Let us pray so our faith keep growing, getting stronger day by day, strengthen our faith with outpouring of God’s word every day and finally will enable us to believe in something without having to look at. Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Related article: https://insightsfromtom.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/john-448-believing-without-miracles/

 

Image source: historylectionary.com

[i] Quoted from Corrie Ten Boom’s quote