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A True Love

True Love -Karina's Thought- Paul Militaru (2)

 

I begin this post with an old inspiring and touching story from China. There was an old grandfather named Bai Fang Li. He was living in Tianjin, China. What is interesting thing from this old man? The most interesting thing from him is even though he was live in shortage, he had has very rich heart. Poverty was not being a reason for him to keep giving to others. He was called to give donations to schools and universities in Tianjin city to help more than 300 poor children in order to able obtain an education for their future. Many years he was pedaling his rickshaw to get money in order to increase amount of his contributions.

He lived in an old and rusty hut in a slum area of the city where many rickshaw operators and garbage collectors live and he also lived without thinking of his own needs so that he could give more and more. Two raisin cakes and fresh water became his lunch menu and just a piece of meat or an egg for dinner. Regardless of weather conditions he was always pedaling his rickshaw from 6 am to 8 pm. “it is okay I am suffered”, but let that poor children can go to school “he said. When he was 90 years old, he realized that he was no longer able to pedal his rickshaw. His last saving that amounted five hundreds Yuan donated all to a school. He said, “I could not to pedal a rickshaw again. I cannot give a donation anymore. It might be my last donation that I could give” It was makes all teachers in that school crying. Three years later grandpa Li passed away in poverty. Yet, behind his poverty, during his lifetime he has been contributed a total of three hundred and fifty thousand Yuan. He devoted his life fully to help poor children who could not afford to school. What an inspiring story, right?

Now, what is the message of the inspiring story for us as Christians?  In the midst of the world which centered on self-interest, where the caring to others getting scarce, what was done by grandpa Li pointed out that there are still people who have a noble heart  more than a gold in this world. He was still loves and care to others though he lived in poverty. I called it “A True Love”

Apostle Paul describes love so beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Depiction of love in those verses so beautifully summarized by grandfather Li’s action. His contribution was not just limited by sympathy words but all real embodied through the sacrifices that he did for the sake of helping those children who did not have opportunity to get an education. I wonder, from the billions of people in this world, how many grandpa Li who care about each other and willing to sacrifice just for helping others? A poor man like grandpa Li wanted to do it, while many rich people just sat quietly does not have concern for the people around who really need help.

Holy Bible said, Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18) Grandpa Li did it so beautiful through the concrete action even in the midst of his poorness. He was not being a selfish or just thinking about himself but he even willing to sacrifice all-out until the last of his strength to help other. He also did all of that was not solely to seek popularity or honored by people. I think, for him have a decent life is more important than having popularity! Please remember he was just a very old rickshaw driver. He really had a sincerity and true love to helping each other.

Grandpa Li was gone but his devotion will continue to be remembered by millions people in this world. I am convinced despite physically he suffered, but his heart happy to be able to do something for others. He realized that it would be happier if can give rather than receive.

…‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Act 20:35)

After I read and ponder this inspiring story, I conclude that there are some important things that we could get from this inspiring story and I called it as the value of true love.

First, Initiative! True love has an initiative. This poor old man has initiative express his love by reaching out his hand to help others. It is same with God.  God loves us not in a passive ways. He not just waiting us to love Him first but God directly reached out His hand to express His love to us with a very beautiful ways. John said,

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Furthermore, Paul said,

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

The second, beside has an initiative, grandpa Li was active in order to could express his love to others by working tirelessly pedaling his rickshaw. He not expresses his love just by his words but also by action as it is written in 1 John 3:18.

Third, grandpa Li has a great caring to others interests. He realized that there are hundreds poor children need help and threatened could not school and get a proper education. God’s word reminds us to not merely attach great importance to our own need and interests, but also pay attention to others needs and interests.

Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:4)

Be emphasized again in 1 John 3:17,

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

Fourth, sacrifice! This is a thing that quite difficult to do. Jesus said,

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

Not only with words but directly Jesus proved to be willing to give his life for the mankind salvation by dying on the cross. And this is then followed by His disciples willing to sacrifice their life just for proclaim God’s word to all over the world. Not many people are willing to sacrifice to help others while he himself lives in hardship. This old poor man was doing this thing so beautiful. He was willing to sacrifice for the sake of helping others. He was willing to lived in the slums and eat potluck so he could save his money.

My dear readers, it is so easy we say that we have love. But the question is what kind of love? Are we having true love that has initiative? Whether we have an active love that accompanied with action? How big our concern to others interests? And are we willing to sacrifice to others? Whether in everyday life we have to apply the principles of love as God wants? This evening I would like to encourage you to learn from this inspiring story. Let the story of grandpa Li could be a model for us to express the true love to others. We may not like grandpa Li who really live in poverty, so let us have an initiative to give  what we  could give to helping each others who in need. Do not be discouraged and ashamed if not be able to give much as long as we give with sincerity. God does not look at how much that we can give but rather to look our sincerity, our willingness to sacrifice and truly based on true love. God really appreciate to those who are willing to sacrifices to give in the shortage.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)

 Suppose that we could not help people in the form of matter, we can help others in another form such as giving a tender smile and a warm hug to our friends who are in grief, spend our time to giving encouragement to people who are discouraged, or put them in our prayer list, and maybe just do very simple daily things such as say “hello” and asking “how are you. Are you okay?” It all will give a big impact to others. Let’s pray to God ask for the strength, wisdom and have a sensitive heart to the others difficulties so we always could express our true love to others.  Let us pray that true love remain thrives in our lives and keep it warm because we live in the world where wickedness is increased. As Jesus reminds us, Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Matthew 24:12) and let us could be a window for those people around us to know and experience God’s love through our true love. Amen.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (I John 4: 7-8)

Karina – Living by Faith

For the detailed story and photos of Bai Fang Li click here

I wish to thank you to Paul Militaru for the awesome and beautiful picture

Photo by Paul Militaru  http://photopaulm.com

 

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The Story of Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower - Karina's Thought

And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good……… Genesis 1-31

A cactus stood all alone in the desert, wondering why it was stuck in the middle of nowhere. “I do nothing but stand here all day,” it sighed. “What use am I? I’m the ugliest plant in the desert. My spines are thick and prickly, my leaves are rubbery and tough, and my skin is thick and bumpy. I can’t offer shade or juicy fruit to any passing traveler. I don’t see that I’m any use at all.” All it did was stand in the sun day after day, growing taller and fatter.

Its spines grew longer and its leaves tougher and it swelled here and there until it was lumpy and lopsided all over. It truly was strange- looking. “I wish I could do something useful,” it sighed. By day, hawks circled high overhead. “What can I do with my life?” the cactus called. Whether they heard or not, the hawks sailed away. At night the moon floated into the sky and cast its pale glow on the desert floor. “What good can I do with my life?” the cactus called.

The moon only stared coldly as it mounted its course. A lizard crawled by, leaving a little trail in the sand with its tail. “What worthy deed can I do?” the cactus called. “You?” the lizard laughed, pausing a moment. “Worthy deed? Why, you can’t do anything! The hawks circle way overhead, tracing delicate patterns for us all to admire.

The moon hangs high like a lantern at night, so we can see our ways home to our loved ones. Even I, the lowly lizard, have something to do. I decorate the sands with these beautiful brushstrokes as I pull my tail along. By you? You do nothing but get uglier every day.” And so it went on, year after year.

At last the cactus grew old, and it knew its time was short. “Oh, Lord,” it cried out, “I’ve wondered so long, and I’ve tried so hard. Forgive me if I’ve failed to find something worthy to do. I fear that now it’s too late.”

But just then the cactus felt a strange stirring and unfolding, and it knew a surge of joy that erased all despair. At its very tip, like a sudden crown, a glorious flower suddenly opened in bloom. Never had the desert known such a blossom. Its fragrance perfumed the air far and wide and brought happiness to all passing by. The butterflies paused to admire its beauty, and that night even the moon smiled when it rose to find such a treasure. The cactus heard a voice. “You have waited long,” the Lord said. “The heart that seeks to do well reflects My glory, and will always bring something worthwhile to the world, something in which all can rejoice – even if for only a moment.”

In this life we often feel worthless.  Feel there is nothing useful to do. But this story tells us, God already has a plan in our life and all of God’s creation is a feasible and worthwhile. Sometimes we think like that cactus. But if we truly believe that God already had a plan for our lives, although initially seems useless In accordance with God’s time everything will look worthwhile. There is nothing useless and worthless in GOD.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

 Photo credit: pickstopin.com

 

Woman of Faith (Sarah)

Woman of Faith 2

Dear reader, yesterday I posted an article based on book of Esther. This evening I continue with another Biblical woman figure and this time I chose Sarah.

 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6)

There is quite a noticeable difference between Esther and Sarah. As Abraham’s wife, Sarah did not have a comfortable life. Not like Esther who live in the palace and became a queen. Sarah did not have an easy life. She always follows her husband who following God’s leadership. She always traveled as nomad to accompany Abraham. She also did not have a permanent place or structure where they could build a house.

More tough condition is she had been unable to have children. After waiting for years and years, hoping, and praying, she still does not have children. But finally, after they become very old, God appear and promised Abraham that Sarah would conceive and bare him a son.

By this time, and especially at this age, the idea was so ludicrous and unthinkable to Sarah that she laughed in unbelief at the promise of the Lord, when it was delivered.  Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”(Genesis 18:10-12).

Yet, the book of Hebrews tells us that she settled conviction in the Lord and in His promise: And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.”(Hebrews 11:11)

When God, in His own good timing, does eventually bless her to conceive, Sarah’s testimony is a beautiful one: “God hath made me to laugh.” The laugh of unbelief had been turned into a laugh of overflowing, unstoppable joy. She determines that she will, in fact, tell others of her great deliverance so that can rejoice with her.

What can we learn from the Sarah’s story? Sarah’s beautiful and precious testimony! It could be our reminder about God’s faithfulness. With His time, God changed our sadness and distrust become joyfulness and happiness. With His mercies and goodness, He changed something impossible and unthinkable become possible and reasonable.

My dear friends, if we’re currently in a long wait? Are we waiting for the God’s answer through our prayer? Or this time we are in a very difficult situation? Let us always remember to God’s faithfulness through this story. As God promised to Abraham, He also promised to us and with His will and His time, He will give us everything that we need. Amen.

Karina – Woman of faith –

Photo credit: olmnh.org

 

Trust and Obey

Trust and obey 2

Yesterday when we held a gratefully worship for my 56th dad’s birthday, my dad asked to the worship leader to sing his favorite hymn song called “Trust and obey” which composed by Daniel Tower (1850-1919) and John Sammis (1846-1919). For my daddy this song become his life-theme and because it sums up God’s purpose for his entire lives.

He once said to me: “When the Lord calls you to a task that seems unreasonable, you have two options. You can obey Him even though you don’t understand what will happen, or you can become fearful and attempt to find a way out. Lets we take a look to Joshua when he raze the wall of Jericho. He chose the first option. Because he trusted the Lord, he disregarded all his military experience and adopted God’s bizarre battle plan. Over the years, he had learned that the Lord is trustworthy.”

Trust and obey is my favorite hymn song as well and there is an interesting fact behind this song. Here’s the story behind of Trust and Obey…

One night in the mid-1880s, when Dwight L. Moody was preaching in Brockton, Massachusetts, his “team” opened the floor, requesting spontaneous testimonies from the audience. A nervous young man stood and expressed his doubts and then his intentions: “I am not quite sure, but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.”

Daniel Towner, Moody’s musician was so struck by the power of those simple words that he quickly jotted them down, and then delivered them to John Sammis, who developed the lyrics to Trust and Obey.  Initially, Sammis just wrote four lines refrain to “Trust and Obey” but later he added four verses. Towner composed the music and the song quickly became a favorite. It remains popular with hymn singers today.

Trust and Obey. There are two duties in these sentences, each with equal importance, both faith and obedience. As with many such verses, there is also a clear progression. Although obedience is critical, everything begins with faith. In the matter of salvation, one can never work his way to Heaven. We are born again when we “Trust in the LORD.” That regenerating work will manifest itself in the desire and ability to “do well.” There is also a clear balance for godly living in this profound and inspired statement. It presents the absolute necessity of both faith and obedience. Of course, faith is not passive; but living faith will result in obedience to Christ. At the same time, the effort to “do well” is not in conflict with faith or a replacement for it.

In the Christian life, faith and works complement each other. We have all witnessed the imbalance of those who claim to be relying on God, and yet they are unwilling to obey the commands of the Word of God. We have also known those who were zealously committed to doing what they perceived to be right, but without the essential presence of faith and dependence upon God. You have probably heard the familiar saying which embodies this principle, “Pray as if everything depends on God, and work as though everything depends on you.” The remainder of this text promises great blessing for those who will “Trust in the LORD, and do good.” Amen

 “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (Psalm 37:3-7)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverb 3:5-6)

Lord, I’m not always “quite sure” and yet I choose to trust you with my life. As I walk the path of obedience, fill my heart with joy, eagerly expecting your favor and blessing.

To listening “Trust and obey” Please click the link below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0S8Z-dMM40

Karina

Photo credit: Google Images

 

 

 

 

A Sign in the Heaven

A sign in the heaven

The daughter of Zig Ziglar reminds us that even at the darkest times we are given reason to rejoice.

I’d turned on the car radio for the long drive home that afternoon last November. My favorite preacher was on, but I wasn’t really paying attention. My mind was on my father. I’d just visited him at the nursing facility where he’d been for the past few months, his health failing.

He was 86. His spirit remained strong but the light in his eyes had dimmed and I had to wonder if this was the last time we’d see each other. My dad, the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, was known the world over for his energy, optimism and faith. The interesting thing is he came to that faith in his mid-forties.

It was the night of July 4, 1972, not long after he left a successful career as a salesman to pursue public speaking full time. He’d grown up in a church-going family but he had more doubts than belief.

That night he was out in his swimming pool when he was struck by the urge to pray, as his friend Sister Jessie had been encouraging him to do. Was God real? He asked. Was he truly present in our day-to-day lives? Dad lay back in the water and stared up into the heavens.

All at once a shooting star streaked across the sky. He was startled and elated. Warmth filled him, like the light from the star. He knew with the utmost certainty the answers to his questions. And he knew that he needed to share not just his energy and optimism in his speeches but his faith.

Dad often talked about the sign he saw. Maybe that’s why I looked up myself that afternoon, driving home from visiting him. Clouds were skimming across the Texas sky. Then I saw it, a cloud in the unmistakable shape of a Z. Z for Ziglar.

I pulled over, grabbed my cell phone and took a picture. It wasn’t till later that I realized the camera function must have been set to video. I showed the recording to my brother and sister when we were keeping vigil in Dad’s hospital room. He’d been rushed there on Thanksgiving with pneumonia.

“We’re sorry, but there’s no hope,” the doctors told us. Dad would have argued that meeting his savior was more than hope enough. My prayers were for his time on earth to end peacefully. That was how he died six days later, in his sleep.

 

The family met to plan the funeral. Dad had spelled out exactly what he wanted for the “big church memorial,” as he called it—down to which Bible passages to read and which songs to sing. But for the private graveside service that would come first, he gave free rein to his pastor, Jack Graham.

Someone suggested that we get a better quality image of the Z cloud for the memorial program. I found the video on my phone and pressed “play.” Who was talking in the background? I hadn’t noticed it before.

I turned up the volume—it was the preacher from the car radio. He was quoting from I Thessalonians 4:13–18: “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope…”

Hope. That was what Dad was all about. “Hey, y’all listen to this,” I said to my family and played the video again. We’d have to tell Pastor Graham about this after the graveside service. He would be as moved as we were.

By Julie Ziglar Norman, Alvord, Texas

Photo credit: faithsmessenger.com

 

To God Be the Glory

to god be the glory

Yesterday night I share a comment in Sue Nash blog about a hymn song called “To God Be the Glory” This  hymn song became one of my favorite songs from the hundreds favorite hymn song and I will use as my wedding theme song on December later. Why I and my fiancé choose this song? Because first, this song always reminds us How marvelous God’s work and also gives special place to the Free Grace position—that salvation is provided as a gift from God to everyone who will place his or her faith in Christ, regardless of one’s sins before or after conversion. The second reason, this is our gratitude to Lord Jesus Christ who has been gave us wonderful and marvelous blessing in our life. This evening I am pleased to share our reflection of this song. Here’s…..

When we observe and ponder this song, there are several aspects of this beloved composition set it forth not only as a hymn of praise, but also as a hymn of grace. From the outset, it is clear that Fanny J. Crosby ascribes all credit to God for His work (“great things He hath done”), with no role for man’s efforts in God’s great plan. In the first stanza, it is Jesus alone who opens the life gate of salvation, so that all have the opportunity to be saved. This is a clear message of grace, in contrast to the idea that man must prove his worth before eternal life is granted.

However, it is in the second stanza that Crosby most clearly sets forth the conditions for entrance through this gate—faith, and faith alone. Note that redemption is promised to “every believer” ( John 3:16), and that regardless of the magnitude of one’s sins, even “the vilest offender” who puts his or her faith in Christ, such as the criminal crucified with Christ (Luke 23:43) or Saul of Tarsus (1 Tim 1:15), will immediately receive pardon from Jesus.

The third stanza and chorus continue to bring this point of grace home, proclaiming that it is God who has done great things, and the One to whom praise and adoration belong. As is evident here, as well as in her other hymns, Fanny J. Crosby were a great woman of God who clearly understood the importance of God’s marvelous grace in salvation. The act of love on the cross which made this possible is truly reason to “Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!” Let us indeed rejoice in our salvation provided so freely by Christ Jesus!

Fanny J.Crosby wrote this song lyric based on Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

To God be the glory, great things He hath done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life, an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate, that all may go in.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer, the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see!

Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!

Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915) William H. Doane (1832-1915)

Karina – Kevin Lam

Watch and listen this great Hymn song “To God Be the Glory”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3qcyNUqdxA&list=RD02NKex7c7DzMA

With permission from Greg Howlett this music will be use in our holy matrimony

Photo credit: christianwallpaper.com

 

 

 

 

 

How Great Thou Art

How great thou art

The hymn How Great Thou Art traveled a long road before it ended up a favorite edition to English hymnals. The original version was a poem written by a Swedish pastor, Reverend Carl Boberg in 1886, and entitled O Stor Gud. Boberg published the poem in his periodical Sanningsvittnet. Several years later he was surprised and delighted to hear his poem being sung by a church congregation, to the tune of an old Swedish folk melody.

Boberg’s poem was soon thereafter translated into German by Manfred von Glehn, who entitled it Wie gross bist Du. In 1925, an American Reverend E. Gustav Johnson translated the Swedish poem into an English version that is somewhat different than the one popular today. For instance, the first line of Johnson’s hymn reads Oh mighty God, when I behold the wonder..

In 1927, I.S. Prokanoff translated Glehn’s German version into Russian, to be enjoyed by that culture also. Throughout all of these translations, the original Swedish folk tune remained the same.

In 1933, English missionaries to the Ukraine, Reverend and Mrs. Stuart K. Hine heard the song for the first time, fell in love with it and sang it often throughout their missionary journeys. As they traveled the Carpathian Mountains, the couple was inspired by the incredible beauty to translate the first three verses of the song into English. When WWII broke out in 1939, the Hines returned to England carrying How Great Thou Art to its new home. After the war they wrote the fourth verse and arranged the original Swedish folk tune to be published in English hymnals.

In the 1950s, the song was copyrighted and widely published in America, becoming more and more popular. When George Beverly Shay and the Billy Graham gospel choir, directed by Cliff Barrows, began to sing the song at virtually every crusade event, How Great Thou Art soon became one of the most recognized songs around the world. It was also recorded by several popular artists, including Elvis Presley. A poll conducted by the Christian Herald magazine in 1974 named How Great Thou Art the most popular hymn in America.

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
consider all the works
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
the universe displayed

Chorus :

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

And When I think, of God,
His son not sparing,
Sent Him to die,
I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden
gladly bearing He bled and died
to take away my sin
Chorus

When Christ shall come
With shout of acclamation
And take me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art
Chorus

Watch and listen “How Great Thou Art “Live concert from Royal Albert Hall, London

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBLRsUMtuFQ&list=RD02dBLRsUMtuFQ

Karina

Photo credit: keypoulanmusic.com