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Rejoice Within Suffering

 

Few days ago I met one of my best friends, Audrey, who just lost her beloved father. She said that now she felt lonely because before her father passing away, every morning before she go to the office, at the dining table she always talks about many things with him.  Now there’s one empty seat at her dining room and it makes her realized that she couldn’t longer share many things to her father. But there is something made me amazed from her. She said, “Yes I am very sad because I had to lose my beloved father, I am so sad because had to lose a great role model in my life. But in the other side, I am grateful because I don’t lose my joy. In the midst of grief I still have joy. Because why? I am grateful my father passed away in the state of keeping his faith faithfully, I am grateful there’s no unresolved sin before God, I am grateful that God gave him long lasting life with good health, though I feel too fast to go, I really know and understand God’s time is not our time. And the most important thing is, I rejoice because I really know where is my father go. He now will become a member of Kingdom of Heaven with God.” 

My beloved friends, this post inspired by Audrey’s story. This’s about rejoicing. Do we’ve rejoiced today? Maybe we’ll easily answer “Yes we are!” if our living conditions are safe; running well and there’s no problem at all. But do we still easily say we’re rejoicing when we’re in difficult situation Like Audrey for example. Do we still have joy though we’re under the pressure of hard problems? Generally, people associate joy/ rejoice with a feeling in a condition where there’s no suffering and problem. It means the joy for the majority of people comes and depends on their conditions that are being experienced. Many people also think that it’s impossible keep rejoicing in the midst of suffering. After I heard Audrey’s story my mind drifted away to one of the great figure in the Bible, Paul. For me, Paul is always can be a good example of rejoicing within suffering.

After repented through encountering with Christ, Paul then devoted himself fully to serving God. After having a new life, Paul’s life doesn’t automatically become easier. In his ministry, he met with the severe situations, suffered many tortures, had physical injuries, had mental pressure, and prisoned waiting for the capital punishment. But the amazing thing was all of his suffering didn’t stop him to serve God. Was Paul angry and disappointed to God? Did he grumbling and complain to God why after repenting and serving God he instead had a lot of suffering? No! Not at all! Paul didn’t do it all. What he did while in jail?  He praising God, he even wrote many letters to his congregation and his ministry friends and the messages that wrote become an essential foundation for every believer’s life today. The other amazing thing from Paul was that none of his letters contained grunts, disappointment, and sadness. Faithfully he greatly encourages people to remain steadfast and not stop rejoicing. For example, to the Philippians he had many messages to keep rejoicing and he repeatedly said that his miserable condition will not made him stop to rejoicing.

Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.  For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you (Philippians.2:17-18, 3:1)

And in his final exhortation to the Philippians,

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

My dear friend, when I wrote this post, I stopped for a moment to ponder and imagine Paul’s figure and had questions. How Paul can be like that? How can a man who has served God for a long time still be able to encourage others to remain rejoicing while he had hard suffering in the prison and awaits the coming of capital punishment? Then I read again the series of Paul’s letters and finally I could make a conclusion that Paul directed his heart and mind wasn’t like the worldly people. He didn’t focus to get wealth, fluency, preferential treatment, prestige, or popularity that he might get it all easily before repented. I noted some of Paul’s letters content.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

(Philippians 3:10-11)

 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3: 13-14)

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3: 20-21)

From the verses above, we can know and learn what was become Paul’s focus in his life.  He focused to be like Christ, he always looked forward continuing to run for the purpose of obtaining a heavenly call from God in Christ Jesus. Though his worldly life was full of suffering and had capital punishment, he didn’t focus on his suffering. He more focus on the salvation that has been obtained through Jesus Christ and he had great opportunity to serve the Lord. I strongly believe this is reasons why he always rejoices within his suffering. Paul put his focus on the right position.

My beloved readers, I really don’t know how’s your condition right now. I’m so glad and be grateful if your life safe and everything is running very well. But maybe there’s among us who in the difficult time in life or currently facing very hard problems and it becomes a reason couldn’t be rejoicing. Right now, please allow me to telling this:  Actually joy isn’t come from what our condition is. Joy isn’t depends on how good or bad our life and also not depends on others. It’s really possible rejoicing within suffering. How come?  how can we keep rejoice in the hard time like Paul did? Let’s take a look to the following verses:

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11

From two verses above we can conclude that there’s always joy and we will always be able to rejoice as long we live in His love and keep His command. This is the way that we can still rejoice even though our lives are full of suffering. Let’s take a look another verse,

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy (Psalms 5:11)

This verse above is another proof that when we take refuge in God we will be rejoice and everyone who love God will filled with joy.  The key point is “In the Lord” That’s all! So my dear friends, actually as true believers there’s no reason at all we couldn’t rejoice every day because we live and must be always live in God. Rejoice isn’t in and depending on our life condition or circumstances. True joy is always come from God and He’s the source of joy. Then what should we do in order to rejoice within suffering?  All we need to do is like Paul did. Put our focus on the right place. Not focus on the problems and suffering but focus on God who has given us salvation.  Like a rose and thorns. Don’t focus on the thorns but let’s focus on the rose. It would be better we think and be grateful God put rose on the thorns than we think and grumble God put thorns on the rose*). What does it mean? It’s all about our focus. If we always put our focus on the “thorn” we will grumble and will be difficult to have joy and rejoicing. But if we always put our focus on the “rose “then we will have joy and will always be able to rejoice. Don’t focus one the problems and difficulties because it will hinder us to have joy. Let’s focus on God because there is always joy in the Lord.  Moreover, we’ve to remember that joy/rejoice in the Lord is our strength. With rejoicing in the Lord then there will be strength to overcome our problems and difficulties.

Nehemiah said, “… Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

My dear friends, I really now it’s no easy to keep rejoice within suffering. But please remember, we have God who is so good. Let’s stop focusing on the problems and suffering, change it with focus on God. Remember, ponder, be thankful, and rejoice for His existence, His loving kindness, assurance of His eternal salvation, His words, and for what He has done for us. If until now we can still live this life, it’s not because of our strength and ability but God give us strength and enable us to face and overcome all problems and suffering.  Keep maintain our relationship and fellowship with God. Let the Holy Spirit always dwell in our heart and let the true joy always shine on from our lives because joy is the part of fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) Amen.

Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Psalms 32:11)

Karina – Living by faith

*) Quote from Dwight L Moody

Image source: Renfrew Christian Fellowship

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New Year With The Lord

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New Year with The Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year 2017 to all of us

Karina & Rebecca Lam – Living by Faith

Image source: Google Image

He Is The Answer

HE IS THE ANSWER - Karina's Thought

 

Almost every day before go to the office I always hear a live piano music that played by my little foster sister, Sandra. One day, I spent more time to watch her plays her beloved white grand piano. I am amaze watch her fingers sprightly pressing each piano keys. While I enjoying a beautiful piece of a classical music,  my eyes stared to a series of piano strings that hit by small and soft hammers. To could produce beautiful notes, piano strings must be hit. There are times the strings hit one by one but also there are times some strings hit at the same time. There are times the strings hit softly but often hit very hard.

Don’t know why when I saw the piano strings, suddenly I am thinking about  my personal life that recently  is like piano strings .  Lately I hit by some serious problems that come at the same time. One of my big problem was that I have shared in my previous post (They Could Find no Charge) I feel being in a situation like a tangled thread that very difficult to disentangle, also it seems I am walking in the endless dark tunnel that there’s no light at all.

Yesterday evening, after we read the bible and prayer together, my husband asked me to once again to open our bible and read 1 Samuel 30:1-25. This Bible passage tells the story of David facing very difficult situation but successfully came out as a winner in the very short time. At the time David and his troops reached Ziklag that had attacked and burned by the Amalekites. Although no one was killed, but the women and everyone else both young and old being captivate by the Amalekites. The problem wasn’t stop there. It is written that David was greatly distressed for the people spoke of stoning him, because the all people were grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. (Verse 6a-b) My husband asked me to imagine David’s situation at the time. Not only the afraid of seeing the whole town burned down, not just sad to see women and children taken captive even his two wives, but he also had to face the people who are ready to kill him by stoning because they anger the enemies deprived their wives and children. David had to face the entire hard situation in the moment. Then my husband said, “Maybe David’s situation was similar with your current situation but let’s see what David’s reaction was and what he did to handle his problems. I strongly believe you will get something.”  It turns out David wasn’t discouraged and faltered at all. He wasn’t disappointed to God though what he faced was extremely hard and didn’t know how to solve it all if he relying on his own strength. The bible very clearly says what David’s reaction was and what he did.

But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (Verse 6c)

That was the choice made by David as his reaction to all the problems he faced.

What happened next was very incredible. From the dusk till the evening he was destroying the Amalekites. Except four hundred young men who fled by camel, there was no one of them escaped. Then all had carried away by Amalekites recovered successfully by David also rescued his two wives. (Verse 17-20) David was successful overcome the problems that came insistently.  My husband asked me again to think deeper about what was David’s successful key. Then I got one big thing that made David successful overcome his problems. Although David was the king with many troops, he still realized that as human being he had many limitations and then he took the right decision. He decided to not rely on his own ability but he simply relies on God who has power above of all. He fully understood and believed that God’s power is able to overcome everything and he also was sure that there is nothing impossible with God. David strengthens his faith and belief to God.

Indeed the Bible doesn’t describe in detail how David strengthens his faith and belief in God but at least from this story we could know David had a life style  that always totally cling to God and we could know that he always rely on God not on his own strength and ability. David said:

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

This clearly illustrates how strong David relies on God and how much his trust and hope to God. In the other verse he also said:

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? (Psalm 18:31)

His life experiences formed him in such a way to have a very strong faith and really know exactly who is God.

My beloved friends, maybe this time you have very hard time like me. Maybe our lives today is like “piano strings” and maybe it makes us disappointed, upset, frantic, angry, and confused. To digest the situation has been so difficult let alone to thinking about the solution. This evening please allow me to encourage all of us to always remember that we have God who really loves us.  We have God as a place to rely on, always be with us, and will never allow us to suffer alone. Heavier the burden we face, harder the storm hit us it means we should be more aware to build relationship that hold strong in God. My problems not been completed and maybe so it is with you now. Maybe now we haven’t seen the answer of our prayers, but I encourage all of us to always remember and embed in the deepest of our heart that there is always answer from God and He will surely answer our cry.

When we say: “God, I am really afraid to live this life”, God reminds us: “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)

When we say: “I’m too tired to face life’s problems.” Jesus replied:” Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

At the moment we said: “I couldn’t possibly do this. Too hard for me” then Jesus answered: “you can. For with God nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

When we ask: “can you help to overcome my problems” He answered:  “if you can? Everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

We are feeling alone and lonely facing all burdens, Gently Jesus promised: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20)

When we doubt about God’s plan in our lives, firmly God said, “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)

At the moment we feel that we couldn’t bear the life temptation, God said to us: “but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able…” (1Corinthians 10:13)

If we say: “God I need the light to go through this dark tunnel” Jesus said to us: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12)

My beloved blog friend, Lauren, said that “as Christians we are not guaranteed a problem-free life.” Yes I do agree with her. There are times our lives like a piano strings that must be hit to produce a beautiful music notes. Sometime we need to be “hit” as well in order to be strong, not spoiled, not easily shaken, not easily discouraged and give up. There are times we have to face shocks in life. There are times we feel so tired even reached the lowest point in life and began to lose the spirit of life. There are times we face the storm of life and it’s all been, still, and we will remain experiencing at the certain times. But we don’t have to afraid and worry because we have God who always with us, who always help us, always hears our cry, and He also gives us the answers and ways to overcome our problems. If God help and made David successfully overcome his problems at the time, likewise with us now because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Let’s start to not always focus on the problems but let’s change our focus and rely on God. Don’t allow our feelings controlled by fear, anxiety, doubt, and uncertainty. From the beginning God has promised us:

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

  Hold this promise tightly in our lives. We just need to be patient and cast my entire burden to God as written in Psalm 55:22,

Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)

We too must walk in unwavering faith because Jesus remains us:

“Do not be afraid; only believe.” (Mark 5:36)

Like David did, let’s make “always lean on God” become our lifestyle.  If this time we still have a lot of problems that difficult to be resolved, don’t be afraid and worry, hold our hands to God, cast all burden of life to Him, God will always be ready to lend a hand to help and guided us.  There’s always an answer in Jesus because He is the answer and like piano strings that produce a beautiful music notes, our lives will be beautiful because He has made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: Google images

Man of Faith, ABRAHAM

Abraham Man of Faith -Karina's Thought

 

Hello my dear friends, sometimes ago I have wrote a series of “Woman of faith” Few days ago my husband said that seems incomplete if I don’t write about “The Man of faith” So this post and the following posts will talk about some bible figures who known as “Man of faith” Anyway, all of you have to know that this post isn’t a bible commentary, bible study or something.  It is just my thought based on what I have learned. So, if you find some wrong perception or misinterpretation, I am so honor you give me critics or suggestion.

When we talk about faith, I strongly believe our mind will directed to one of great bible figure named Abraham. As we all know Abraham called “The father of faith” I knew and learned this great figure when I was teen. At the first time, I was so curious how Abraham could be called as “The Father of faith” If his faith not experienced ups and downs at all throughout his life? After I read and learn seriously about His life, although the Bible explains that there were times Abraham experienced faith struggling like us, at least I found two big things happened along his life so he deserved to be called as “Father of faith” I prefer to call these big things as two big test of Abraham’s faith. Now I would love to take all of us to look at the first test. God said to Abraham:

‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:1-2)

When I read these verses, my mind focused to the word “That I will show you” God didn’t says, “That I showed you before” This means that Abraham totally didn’t know where he will go. There was no certainty and Abraham hasn’t received any further explanation from God. It also means that Abraham had to wait. Dear friends, I imagine one day my father give me an order to go to a place that I never know before and my father don’t tell me any description and direction about that place. Well, I will definitely refuse and I don’t have big courage to go. But what was Abraham do? The author of Hebrews tells us:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8)

At that time Abraham certainly didn’t know what will be happen but he remained obey to follow God’s command and set out according to God’s command. Abraham did it because he looked by the eyes of faith. Abraham trusted and believed that God will guide him into the uncharted territory. There was no questioning and no wavering! He still went and dwelt in the foreign land that God promised to him.

By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; (Hebrews 11:9)

What a great and profound example of faith! What underlies Abraham‘s faith? What is the vision that he saw through his faith? Let us take a look to the following verse:

For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

(Hebrews 11:10)

It turned out, Abraham had a vision about the future, something that he hadn’t seen in real but he had a proof through his faith. Others may not see it but Abraham was able to saw it with his eyes of faith.

Now we come to the hardest test of Abraham’s faith (In my opinion).  I remembered one of my friends who were really disappointed and angry to God because God called home her one and only daughter. Thing that made him upset and angry was, she had wait for 7 years to have her daughter and the doctor have stated that she will very difficult to have a child again and not recommended for some reasons. She once said to me, “I have been waiting for 7 years to get the answer of my prayer to have a child. God gave but God himself took my daughter back. What is actually God wants from me? It would be better He didn’t give me a child at all if eventually He took my daughter back!”  My dear friends, now let’s compare my friend’s story and Abraham’s story.

We all know that God promised Abraham to have a child at the impossible time because they had become grandparents. The story wasn’t ended up there, evidently there was another thing. Turned out, Abraham needs time for 25 years to get the fulfillment of God’s promise. But again Abraham was using his eyes of faith. He truly believed that God will fulfill His promise though seems impossible. Then was born Isaac. Was it the happy ending? Not really. One day, God commanded Abraham: “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering…” (Genesis 22:2) What was Abraham reaction? If he complained, disappointed, and angry to God like my friend? Yes maybe! Although not mentioned in the bible, I do believe as a human Abraham could feel sad, disappointed, and even angry to God like my friend. But the fact was, he remain obey and he did what has commanded by God. I found one important thing that shows how great Abraham’s faith at the time. Let’s pay attention to this verse:

And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5)

I outlined to the word “We will come back to you” Wasn’t Abraham should have come back alone because Isaac will be offered as a burnt offering? This is what I mean how great Abraham’s faith. He knew that God was faithful, God can make miracles. Abraham believed so strongly in God, even though at the time he hadn’t seen what will happen in the next. Seeing or not, Abraham believed and obeyed God wholeheartedly, without protest, without complaining, without a doubt. Was written in Hebrews 11:19:

Concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

Abraham believed that God had a very good reason for asking him to sacrifice Isaac, and that somehow Isaac would have to be raised from the dead to fulfill the promises God had made concerning him.

My beloved readers, what about us now? How far we put our faith as a substance of our lives, how far can we believe in something that not seen as written in Hebrews 11:1:

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”

How far we are able to obey to do the God’s command though we haven’t seen the results? How far we are willing to do all of God’s will though seem unreasonable? If we say we have faith, whether our faith has been accompanied by deed? Because:

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)

This evening I encourage all of us to learn from Abraham’s life as “Father of faith” Abraham chose to obey when God commanded him to go out from his country and when God asked him to handed his one and only son as a burnt offering. Abraham chose to believe when God promised him a child in his very old age. Abraham can did all of that because he put his faith as a substance. Let’s do the same thing like Abraham. By having unwavering faith then we will be able to obey without any doubt, and questions. By having a strong faith we will be able to believe the fulfillment of God’s promises. Maybe this time we are waiting for God’s answer, let us wait it with the strong faith. Maybe right now God commanded us to do something impossible, let us do it faithfully because all things are possible to him who believes. (Mark 9:23) and for with God nothing will be impossible. (Luke 1:37)

Maybe right now we are in the very hard time. We are hit by so many hard troubles and challenges and we are in the uncertain situation. Once again allow me to encourage all of us face it all by strong and unwavering faith. Let’s learn to have great faith, faithful, and obey like Abraham. By faith let us completely believe that God already has beautiful plan for all us.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

And by strong faith let us totally believe that God will never leave us as He said:

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

Let’s keep hold God’s promises with the unwavering faith. By great faith Abraham received all the God’s blessing right in His time.

Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. (Genesis 22:17) Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: jamespoitras.com

Jephthah, From zero to be Hero

JEPHTHAH FROM ZERO TO BE HERO -Karina's Thought

 

Few days ago I took time to meet my new office staff in Singapore named Zahra. She is from India then move to Singapore to get a better future. I am interested and impressed by her life background. Openly and shamelessly she tells her life bitterness. When she was 22 year old she should know a bad fact. She was an unwanted child to be born. She was born as a result of the adultery. Her parents many times tried to have an abortion yet always failed. As an unwanted child she never gets a proper affection, even handed out to one of her mother’s relatives.  That situation gives rise to hatred and rancor to her parents. But Thank you to God, the good news was she bring her bitterness to God and God enabled, strengthen, and move her heart to forgive them, even God amazingly use her in a ministry at her church in India.

My beloved readers, after I heard her touching testimony, my mind soon drifted to the one biblical figure named Jephthah that experienced the similar thing.  Jephthah’s story was written in Judges 11. Jephthah was “From zero to hero” From nothing to be something. He was born as an illegitimate child, the result of adultery relationship with a harlot. The Jephthah’s story begins with a very contrast fact.

Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot; and Gilead begot Jephthah. (Judges 11:1)

Jephthah portrayed as a man that have two life’s side. On the one side he pictured as illegitimate child of a whore and rejected by his society, but on the other side he considered as  mighty man. The author of Hebrew even classifies Jephthah as a hero of faith in line with David, Samuel, Gideon, Samson, and Barak.

… For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:  who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (Hebrews 11:32-34)

As an unwanted and illegitimate child, he then expelled by his parents. “…You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” (Judges 11:2)

Then Jephthah who had been born in the unpleasant conditions must also bear the burden of which is not due to his fault. He wasted; bear hatred whole families and even his own nation as a result of his father’s deeds that should not be inflicted on him. What happens next? Because of all that, Jephthah then fled from his families, went to the land of Tob, and joined to the raider gangs. This is the life he should  bear as a result of his father’s sins. Life is so bitter, but nevertheless he continued to live.

The story continues. At one time, there was an attack against Israel carried out by the Ammonites. The Israelites was threatened and frightened. Apparently this fear makes the elders of Gilead no longer had embarrassed to pick Jephthah and asked him to become their commander to fight the Ammonites.

“Did you not hate me, and expel me from my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”  Said Jephthah to the elders of Gilead.(Judges 11:7)

My dear friends,  there are many valuable  and important things we can learn from Jephthah’s story . Let’s see the first thing. It is about forgiveness.Though Jephthah had hated and expelled from his father’s house, Jephthah was a figure who had Magnanimity. He was a figure that full of forgiveness and didn’t hold grudges. He didn’t  intend at all to take revenge to the elders of Gilead who hate and reject him;  although Jephthah could, he didn’t  take advantage of the situation to hit back them. Jephthah was already implementing what has been commanded by God:

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself… (Leviticus 19:18)

The Bible noted clearly what he did at the time: Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them… (Judges 11:11)

One question to ponder, if one day people who have hurt and hate us come to apologize for everything they did and ask us for help, what would we do to them? Take revenge and hit them back? Could we act like Jephthah with open arms we accept them with love and forgiveness and help them?  I really realize forgive someone that has been hurt us so bad is a difficult thing to do. But today let’s learn from Jephthah as a figure that have full forgiveness and as God also commanded us:

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)

do not let the sun go down on your wrath, (Ephesians 4:26b)

 The second thing we can learn is, let’s put our focus on the underline words below,

“If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head” (Judges 11: 9)

This shows us that although Jepthah was living in the tough world and full of evil, he still had a good relationship with God and He had faith in God. He didn’t say “if I defeat the Ammonites…” but he said “if the Lord delivers them to me…” He realized that if he managed to defeat the Ammonites it all not because of his own strength and ability but it all just because God gives victory to him. Also, though his life was filled with a myriad of pain and suffering, He was a figure who completely surrenders to God. Jephthah continues to rely on God incessantly. Jephthah brought the entire case to the presence of God.

and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord in Mizpah. (Judges 11:11)

This teaches us one thing, no matter how hard our lives, no matter how big our problems, no matter how big suffering should to bear and it all makes us worry and fear, we have to always totally surrender and rely on God. God’s word said:

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

(Psalm 145:18-19)

The third, through the story of Jephthah we could see that God didn’t see the good and bad of someone life background for His work. Jephthah who was born with a bad background has received God’s grace in abundance. Even the God’s Spirit came upon him.

Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah… (Judges 11:29)

God doesn’t look at whoever we are, where we came from, and how is our past.  Jephthah’s Bitterness can be transformed by God when he brought his case before the Lord. Though he lives among the raider gangs even become a leader, but the Lord chose him to be a war commander of Israel.  Here we could learn that a wasted and unwanted people will not forever waste and not appreciated. God can choose anyone no matter who they are for His Kingdom work. God’s word said:

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.  God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

 The fourth thing, I found an interesting thing from Jephthah’story. Despite he was in very taugh and hard situation, Yefta was able to explore and found his potential.What kind of potential? The leadership! He said:

“If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?” (Judges 11: 9)

It was true Jephthah was a leader of raider gangs but God even use his leadership ability become a war commander against the Ammonites. I personally learn something, although we have dark background, rejected, and experienced many bitterness of life, God still bless us a potential and gift to develop ourselves to become someone usefull for others. I do believe at the time Jephthah realized his potential and ability as a head. If not, he will not confidently say: “Shall I be your head. No matter who we are, God has given each of us grace, gift, and self-potential that can be developed, as written in Romans 12:6-8:

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

My beloved brother and sister in Christ, this evening allow me to encourage all of us to learn from Jephthah’s life.  Let us learn to become a person who always forgive those who may have been hurt and hate us. Let us always rely on God and cast all worries, problems, trials before the Lord. Let’s more realize that God can use anyone for his work. God can use someone who have dark background of life to declare His glory and mightiness. Never stop to explore our sel-potensial because the Lord has blessed us with talents and abilities that can be used by God to do good for others. Let’s always remember that God can change anyone “From zero to be Hero”, “From nothing to be something” Amen

 

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: google image

Bible verses source: Biblegateway

 

The Anchor of Hope

ANCHOR OF HOPE - Karina's Thought

 

Hello everyone! Glad and be grateful I could come back again with my new post. On the first week of this New Year, I got a lot of questions from my friends about what is my prediction for this year, especially in the business and finance field. Some of them shows their pessimistic in carrying out this year; they assume this year will not be better than previous. They even filled with anxiety in facing this year. “I didn’t dare to put hope too much, or even I didn’t have hope at all for this year. I think could be surviving day by day is more than enough” Said one of my friend pessimistically.

My beloved friends, on my first post of this year I longs to talk about hope. In this today world that full of problems, affliction, and trials, there are many people losing hope in their life. For me, personally, this is horrible. I am not saying that I am definitely could do anything and will surely success in every field this year, but if until know I could work well it just because I have hope. I always put my hope on everything I do. I hope could get a better achievement in working. I also have a hope to be a better mother of my son; I hope could be a better wife for my husband. And also I hope could be a better daughter to my parents that has been entrust me to manage everything they build before. The point is because of hope I am able to keep moving. I found many people because they lose of hope, their lives like a programmable robot which is doesn’t have a soul; there is no longing in their heart to get a better future, and they don’t have dreams, goals, and vision to be achieved. They become people who are lazy to pursue a better future.

What the God’s word says about this thing?  Paul, on his letter to the Corinthians was conveying clearly an important thing about hope. At that time he cited a script from the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 25: 4. He said: For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about?  Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. (1 Corinthians 9:9-10)

What does the meaning of the verses above? Let’s ponder together. Let us focus on the word: “That who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope” After I deeply reflect on these words, I conclude one important thing. We have to do everything in hope! Whatever we working on, we have to always put hope on it. This is an important message that will be able to make us continue to have dreams, goals and, vision in our lives, not just survive from day after day without any hope at all in our hearts. Don’t expect we have fire of spirit without hope. Without hope we wouldn’t be able to be diligent and get the best results. Hope will be able to help us be faithful and committed both where we work, in our profession or everything we strive in this world.

Now the question is, when we already have a hope, where we have to put our hope? I also found many people today even though they have hope but they put their hope at the wrong place. They put hope on human’s strength, power, wealth, and other worldly things. It will definitely doesn’t work and will be in vain. As good as any humans still have weaknesses. No matter how powerful someone is, there is always someone more powerful. No matter how rich someone is, there is still someone richer. So where is the right place to put our hope? Well, has been clearly written in the Bible where we have to put our hope. Let’s take a look to the Holy Bible.

I pray that God, the source of hope… (Romans 15:13)

This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. (1Timothy 1:1)

These verses vividly show us where we should to put our hope in this life. There is only one in this world that can be our hope; He is God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is source of hope and through Jesus Christ He gives us hope. Therefore, let’s remember don’t put our hope to others, let us put our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ who already sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father in Heaven. Hoping in Jesus is like sure and steadfast anchor,

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil. (Hebrews 6:19)

Oh, what a wonderful fact! We have hope as sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, an anchor that can’t slip and can’t break down under whoever steps on it. The powerful and safe anchor that we have is named the anchor of hope!  If I likens our life is like a ship, we have Christ Jesus the solid rock that can be a strong and safe mooring for the anchor to hold and the ship of our life will remain strong and will be not tottering aimlessly.

My beloved readers, what about us now? Whether we are included to those who are seeing this New Year with pessimistic like some of my friends and we look this year as a dark and gloomy year? This evening allow me to encourage all of us to enlighten our view, mind and lives with the light of hope. If we feel everything we do will be in vain, let us immediately put hope above all that we do and put it on the right place. Immediately direct our view and mind to Jesus who gives us hope and as a Highest Priest. Hold fast our hope without wavering as written in the bible,

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

I am fully realized that our lives ahead will not be easy or will be even more difficult than before. There are always problems; trials, challenge, uncertain situation, and we might feel insecure with our future, once again please allow me to encourage all of us to remember these:

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety. (Job 11:18)

We have to totally trust that once we put our hope on God, then we will not disappointed because hope doesn’t disappoint and we will secure because there is hope. If so far we feel what we are doing seems confiscate our lives in vain, immediately pray and ask to God to shows where the point of the problem. Allow God to speak and tell us His plan while continuing to nurture our hope in obedience. Although we see this year will fraught with difficulty and seemed to close all possibilities to hope, let’s keep tightly hold hope in Christ and keep rejoicing in hope, for the Bible has been clearly states that,

 Dear my friends, in undergoing this new year, Let’s keep walking in faith and hope, always put our hope on Jesus Christ the source of hope and who gives us hope, anchored our anchor of hope to Jesus the solid rock while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13) Amen

Karina –Living by faith

Image source: mudpreacher.org

 

Keep The spirit Up!

KEEP THE SPIRIT UP- Karina's Thought

 

Day by day I am more realized that the spirit plays an important role in our lives. I am more realized that no matter how smart we are and how high our expertise, without having a great spirit we couldn’t do so much things. We also often think that high intelligence and high education is something absolutely needed to reach a success. However, actually this fact is not entirely true. I have met many business comrades who didn’t have very high education but they could reach a great success. A few days ago once again I met a new business friend. What makes me surprised and amazed is, she is younger than me and you know, she told me that she just graduated from senior high school but she has been successful in the business world and successful develop some companies. “The biggest asset that I have is praise to the Lord almighty, He gives me a big spirit and I always try to keep my fire of spirit never dimmed. Indeed, I am always surrounded by many smart, skilled, and experienced people in their respective fields who always support me. But if I myself don’t have a great spirit to achieve what I want, so I will get nothing. If we have spirit, then we will be doing many things. By keep the spirit up, I could learn many things and it could make me remain stand firm especially when I have face the hard times” She said without any overbearing impression.

I am not saying that I am disagreeing with education, intellectuality, and intelligence. I know both of them are important too. But what I want to convey is we don’t have to forget the factor of spirit in our lives. High intelligence and education is not an assurance that we could successfully reach what we want if not accompanied by high spirit to try reach what we expect. As my new business friends said that she always tried to make her fire of spirit never dimmed, it means we should always have a spirit in live our life. God also really love and appreciate if we are as His children have a great spirit.

I remembered a God’s word in 2 Chronicles 15. At that time, Asa, a king who led the Nation of Judah wanted to make reformation. Before he did, he visited by Azarya the son of Oded who apparently was given a special mandate directly from God to the king Asa. One of God’s messages it turned out is about the spirit,

But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.

(Chronicles 15:7 NASB)

Let’s pay attention to the word “For your work shall be rewarded” This is God’s promise to those have a great spirit and strong mental. Thankfully king Asa heard the message and he successfully did thorough reformation to the nation of Judah. The Bible noted the significant outcome of his effort.

There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign. (2 Chronicles 15:19 NIV)

Now, I love to take another bible figure as an example. Let’s briefly take a look to the story of Caleb. Caleb was one of twelve people who were given the task by Moses to spy out the Promise Land, Canaan. At the time, Caleb was 40 years old and we all know the end of the story. The Israelites successfully entered the Promise Land 45 years later and Caleb was 85 year old. There is one Caleb’s remark that can describe how great his spirit although his age was already quite old,

I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. (Joshua 14:11 NIV)

Here we can see although Caleb’s age was been quite old but he still had a great spirit to assist Moses brought The Israelites went into the Promise Land. What a great example that by always has a great spirit will be able to reach a great success and give us a great outcome. Caleb didn’t become downhearted at all even though he should to wait for 45 years.

My beloved readers, we all know that our lives are not always filled by convenience and comfort. There are times we are in a situation which is fraught with difficulties, suffering and troubles. But Solomon said:

The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble… (Proverbs 18:14 AMP)

Spirit is able to give us strength to endure sufferings and heavy burden. But what we can do if we don’t have spirit? People who have broken spirit tend to be difficult to get up. The longer it is allowed, the harder to recover.  We have to know that the spirit is like a fuel that will drive us remains step forward. Whatever work that we do, whether it is large or small if we do will vigorously we can finish it all with the best results. I personally have experienced it. Without a great spirit, I couldn’t be able to run a big responsibility on my shoulder in working.  Don’t ever dream to achieve something big if not accompanied by a great spirit. Problems may come and hit us repeatedly, but if we have a high morale to face it all, it will give a big difference in obtaining the final outcome. We have to always remember that God has promised always be with us whatever we go. As He said:

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)

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 NIV)

 He also has declared that He is the Faithful God,

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

(Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV)

And because God is faithful, it means He never leaves us, He promised:

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)

God wants us to always live in His plan, where He will guide and accompany us in every step of our lives to reap what has been provided by Him. So, if we already know how beautiful God’s promises to us, why should we be downhearted in facing of various problems, sufferings and trials? We should to always have a great spirit to face any problems and trials just because it all will strengthen us to remain endure passing through the hard times.

My dear friends, this evening allow me to encourage all of us to continue keep the fire of our spirit not going to be dimmed. Let the fire stay burning and flared. Whatever problems we face today, let’s face and finish it with a great spirit. There is no reason at all for us to not keep the spirit up. When we face so many hard problems people around us might stay away from us or even leave us, but please remember one thing that we are not alone. We have God who always be with us, loves us, and give us strength.

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

 Fully trust in His promises because He said:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise… (2Peter 3:9a NIV)

 Feel His kindness, love, inclusion and continue to hold it with faith. It will make our heart still have a true joy, happiness, and the cheerful lives. From there we will be able to remain upbeat and positive, full of enthusiasm in doing what we want to achieve and in resolving all of our problems. Spirit drives us to get a great achievement. Keep our spirit up! Amen.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)

 

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: imghoot.com