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Facing the GIANT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And confidently we can say:

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

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: gigaom.com

 

 

ONLY THROUGH LOVE (guest post)

Our Christian identity is not like ID card that reads “Christian”, the symbol of the cross, or a painting of Jesus hanging on the walls of our homes. Nor various attributes nuanced “Christian” that we use.

Our Christian identity is LOVE, because love is God’s “FINGER PRINT” in us. Only through the love then the world will know the Father through us.

Have we live and move only in and by Father’s love??

From the beginning the Christ followers had experience a variety obstacles and challenges. Acts 4 tells us that Peter and John were arrested by the priests because they proclaim Jesus’ resurrection. In Chapter 5 the high priest and his followers captured the apostles and put them in jail because of jealous and indignation. And after the martyrdom of Stephen in chapter 6 and 7, many obstacles and challenges increasingly expanded until now.

This is not surprising because the Lord Jesus himself said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18–19 NKJV)

As followers of Christ in the modern world, we not only have to maintain the purity of faith in the midst of an increasingly free lifestyle, but we also have to be careful and thoughtful in dealing with various obstacles and challenges that may come. Knowingly or not, the world will continually see us. They see every speech and our actions. They assess how a follower of Christ to respond when treated not well.

When our hearts are hurt, whether we will reply to wounding with sharper “arms” or we will forgive them.  When we are insulted, whether we will turn disparage them or we give them smile. When we hated, whether we will respond with scorn or we will give them love. The world will see what our respond when all the unpleasant things happened to us.

In Acts 6 & 7, Stephen was being treated cruel and unjust. He was falsely accused on charges of blasphemy: Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.  And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” (Acts 6:9-11)

The result of all that is Stephen brought to the council and must take the punishment that should not be, that died at the hands a lot of people who stoned him. Right at the threshold of death, Stephen prayed: “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60 NKJV)

In the midst of overflows hatred and anger of crowd to him, Stephen’s heart surrounded by the love that enabled him to forgive those who wronged him. What kind of love that able to forgive that great sin? It was not love that comes from the heart of an ordinary person!

In Acts 6:3,5,8 was written that Stephen was a good reputation person, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, full of faith and power. All of it, are spiritual qualities which only owned by the pious people, namely those who actually maintain his relationship with God. People are not just run a religious duty, but always live in intimacy with God, abiding, and really put their lives on God.

The reflection of Stephen’s intimacy with God is look so clear in the council when the witnesses gave false testimony about Stephen: And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw HIS FACE AS THE FACE OF AN ANGEL. (Acts 6:15 NKJV)

Stephen was full of God’s presence. The glory of God is so real surround him until other people can see it! The Holy Spirit lives within Stephen so he filled with love that enabled him to forgive and faithful till the end. Musing for all of us is: Did anyone else see the glory of God through our lives??

We know that human nature is returning evil for evil, and kindness with kindness. Some are even repay kindness with evil. But as followers of Christ we are required to live in different standard of love:

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46 NKJV)

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28 NKJV)

Christ teaches us to love those who hate us because they don’t know what they did. They hate us because they do not know God the Father. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” (John 15:21 NKJV)

If we hate them, then who will preach the Gospel of Salvation to them?! Hate those who “persecute” us is tantamount to closing the door of salvation for them. Father’s will is that everyone is saved. Therefore we must demonstrate God’s love for them through concrete actions. Thus they will get to know Father in Heaven through us.

If we’ve done a good and right thing but others are still figure out our mistakes… If we are currently facing particular pressure because we are the obedient Christians… If someone mock us as “fanatics” or “pastor” because we do not want to compromise with certain sin… No matter of the form of obstacles and challenges that happened, our first response must be LOVE. If our hearts are always filled with Christ’s love, then that love will keep us so that our next move will not deviate from love corresponding with Father’s will.

In 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 was written the extreme comparison of love. Let me quote it in full for we reflect together:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV)

Love is our Christian identity. Without love, all we do is nonsense, useless, and nothing! Let us not be known just as Christians who went to church, energetic in ministry, and is active in various social activities. All was good, but above all let us be known as a Christian who full of loving Christ.

However, how perfect the love of Christ! How high and deep His love is always far beyond of human’s love. Without His help, we would not be able to reach it. The love that could meet standard of God’s love is only love that comes from God’s Spirit alone!

“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 5:5 NKJV)

If we want to have the love of Christ, we must always be in with the Holy Spirit. If we continue to build intimacy with the Holy Spirit, from time to time, we will be change into more and more like Christ, so that we will enabled to love others as Christ has loved us first.

The core of Christianity is love because God is love. The reason of God’s works for the world is love. If we wish to be a blessing and bring many souls to Christ, there is no way other than we must always be connected with the Holy Spirit.

Let us open our heart and allow the Holy Spirit pour Father’s love till the love attached to be our identity that cannot be separated from our lives, flow through our lives, and touch a lot of people so they can feel and see it. Because only through love we can be a blessing and praising God.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV)

Amen

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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Radical Faith

 

radical-faith-karinas-thought

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: Google images

BECOMING A LEADER (guest post)

Becoming a Leader

What is the first thing that crosses your mind when you listen to “Becoming a leader”? Is it having excessive authority, being respected by many people, surrounded with facilities and priorities? Or…….

 

BECOMING A SERVANT

There was a time when James, John and their mother come to meet Jesus (Matthew 20:20-28, Mark 10:35-45), asking for His favor to be seated on both right and left sides of Jesus in His kingdom. In the other words, they wanted to be a part of the Kingdom, having power and position. But Jesus answered, “…..whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.” (Matthew 20:25-26 NKJV)

Becoming a leader doesn’t mean to become the sovereign or ruler. It means we become a servant. Jesus had set an example by washing His disciples’ feet. “He rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet…..” (John 13:4-5)

Jesus was much respected by His disciples, He took off His robe, girded Himself with a towel as a symbol that He positioned Himself as a modest servant.

If we want to become a leader who is favored by God, we also need to take off our “Robe”, be it our pride, status, ego and all the attributes that displays our proudness, and then we learn become a humble servant.

Becoming a leader is not about physical activities but also about humility. An arrogant leader tends to do things as he wishes, look down and dont appreciate his people, and is hungry for respect. Humility talks also about the willingness to see our people can be great , or even greater than us.

Leadership is about being of service to other, not to served by others. Set an example and stop ordering them according to your own will.

As a leader, we could not demand to be served and honored for “WHO are we” and “WHAT is our position”, but let us set an example in our speech and action. Then people will look up on us, not because of their obligation, but because of their respect from the deepest of their heart.

 

BEARING THE RESPONSIBILITY

Leadership is not a position or title, but it is a trust and responsibility

The higher the position and more people to be led means that the bigger responsibility which the leader need to handle.

Moses was chosen by God to lead millions of Israelite. Moses had to face many characteristics of the people and solved the problem for them. Moses realized he would not able to handle everything on his own. Because of it, Moses listened to his father in-laws to promote a leader of one thousand people, hundred people, fifty people and also for ten people (Exodus 18:21-26).

A leader has to delegate part of his responsible to others. Not for anyone but those who are skilled and have fear of God. They need to be honest and trust-worthy. These qualified people will be given responsibility according to their ability. They won’t be given task and later be ignored, but they will receive training and supervised until they become great.

So, how should we respond when people who we lead make a mistake?

In Exodus 24:12-14, God ordered Moses to be on the top of mountain. Before leaving, Moses gave trust to Aaron and Ur to be in charge of every problem that might occur when Moses was not around. The problem arose when the Israelites could not wait for Moses to come back (Exodus 32). In the middle of chaos, Aaron made a wrong decision. He molded a gold calf. God was so mad that He saw the Israelites bowed to worship this idol. God even wanted to destroy and replaced them with Moses’ descendants, but Moses didn’t stand up for Aaron to defend himself. Moses bore all the responsibility by asking for God’s forgiveness upon Israelites. And if God wanted to, Moses would be willing to erase his name from the Book of Life. We can see how big Moses’ heart was.

Bearing a responsibility is not about completing task, it also means willing to love people who God has trusted us to lead.

As God’s children, God puts us as a leader in order to become a blessing. God wants us to be successful and excel in everything we do. But above that, God wants us to channel His love to people that we are leading. Let us start to love and appreciate them as a “person”, not an “asset” in our organization. In love, there are rebukes and discipline, but also there is warm embraces. There is a time for a consequence when they commit a mistake, but also a time to help them rise from their failure and give them second chance.

 

OWN A RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER AND HEART

Saul and David are two great figures on the Bible. Saul was appointed and anointed by God to become the King of Israel (1 Sam 9:16-17). David went through the same experience, too (1 Sam 16:12-13). But what did make the difference between them? Character and heart!

In one of the battle against Philistine, recorded on 1 Sam 13, Israelites were on the edge. Before it happened, Samuel had ordered Saul to wait for seven days until Samuel told him what to do next (1 Sam 10:8). But because Samuel had not appeared soon, the Israelites were about leaving the King Saul. King Saul was afraid to be left behind, he made sacrifices with a burnt offering and peace offering which were supposed to perform only by the priest. When Samuel came and confronted Saul, he denied, defended himself and didn’t repent to God. Then God removed his kingship and gave it to David because God saw his attitude (1 Sam 13:13-14).

Now, let us have a look at David. Although he had been anointed as king, it took couple of years to make it came true.  And during these years, David had experienced many processes. He started to become a servant and armor bearer of Saul (1 Sam 16:21-22), became a hero that defeated Goliath and was being hunted down by Saul.

Saul was full of envy and thirsty of power. The folk’s song “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousand” has made Saul felt underrated and threatened. On the other side, David believed that the throne was given by God to him. David never thought to compete against Saul. Saul didn’t obey and fought back against God, but David felt regret and repented immediately when Nathan, the prophet, rebuked him for his sins with Bathsheba. Looking over his attitude, David has found the favor of God.

Ability may get you to the top, but the true character and heart that will keep you there.

We have seen many of great leaders that started their leadership right, but they were fail in the process. Some of them could get on their feet, but many of them still stuck in their failure.

Great leaders are not them who are never failing, but people who are realize of their wrong, willing to change and strive over their failures.

The heart is the source of everything. A righteous heart can help the leader to do the right things and keep him in enduring when God is processing him. Every time he can strike against all the circumstances, then his character will be molded and transformed.

David had started his process long before Samuel anointed him. David could surpassed all the pressure and fleeing since he had firm foundation. David built his relationship with God thru his quite time with God, he worshipped God with his harp and he shepherded his small amount of sheep faithfully.

Through this writing, I encourage each of us to be a leader like David, who accepted the rebuke humbly and wanted to repent immediately. Let us build our strong faith and have an intimate relationship thru prayer and fellowshipping with Holy Spirit. May us can be faithful on small things that God has trusted, preserve during process, walk on the right tracks, and do not go aside from God’s word.

 

HAVING INTEGRITY

As Christ’s follower who is trusted to be a leader, people will not only measure of “WHAT IS” our achievements, but also assess the “HOW” we achieve it. That’s why we must have big integrity than the leaders outside of Christ.

Integrity means determined to apply value of the truth CONSISTENTLY in any situation. In this case, the value that we hold is a higher value than the morals and norms of society, which is THE GOD’S WORD. People with integrity have sincerity and honesty. He will not become specious, and don’t have hidden agendas. What they say is what they do.

“Let your Yes be simply Yes, and your No be simply No; anything more than that comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37 AMP)

Leaders with integrity will be not in “gray area” and not “stand on two boats”. Leaders with integrity will be always consistent in words, attitudes, and actions.  They resolute and will not make compromise, not ashamed to admitted their mistakes, and willing to accept advice and criticism.

Skill can be trained, the knowledge can be learned, but integrity comes from the deepest of the heart. Integrity does not come just one night, but formed due process, maturity, and awareness. That’s why leaders with integrity are “expensive”.

We are able to achieve something if we have the ability and strong will to go forward. But if we do not have INTEGRITY, then all of it will only be a stumbling block for others as well as a snare for ourselves! Because without integrity then we will justify any means in order to get what we want. In the end, sooner or later we will fall.

He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known.” (Proverbs 10:9 NKJV)

“The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” (Proverbs 11:3 NKJV)

Let’s be  leaders with integrity so we could glorfy God in every step of our leadership.

 

MAN BUILDING

We are called by God to not only set up an organization, but to build men who are inside.

Jesus called His twelve disciples with various backgrounds. For three and half years, Jesus has invested in each of His disciples. He put inside them the value of Kingdom, changed the way they think, built a strong mentality, and also changed their paradigm. One of His disciple (Judas) had chosen his own way, but another eleven disciples who had been transformed become full of fire apostles and willing to bear the cross to spread the Gospel.

Also we can learn about David when he was in Cave of Adullam, 1 Sam 22:2 recorded that And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them…..”

That time, David did not have the trained and scholar soldiers with him; they didn’t come from royal family, either. They were 400 people with bitterness, in distress and were nothing but trouble to the society. But under David’s leadership, they had transformed to become strong and loyal soldiers.

A leader has granted access and authority to do many things. We can use this chance to become the channel of God to distribute His love and power to touch and change people lives. If we see people that we lead have not reached our expectation, do not lose hope. Ask God to help us so we can see them as God sees us way before: For  consider your own call, brethren; not many  wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth.”(1 Corinthians 1:26 AMP)

A leader who owns God’s heart can see through the potential inside somebody over their current problems and weaknesses.

Take this time to impart the values of life for people that we lead. When they become great leader, our organization also becomes better.

 

STAND FIRM IN THE TRUTH

God has said in 2 Tim 3:1-9 about the last days. It is not easy to be a righteous leader in the middle of this corrupted world. From the time to time, the challenges and obstacles are getting bigger. We also see that the God’s children are often offered with frontal choices, either to be righteous but have to suffer disadvantages, or compromise with sin but surrounded by advantages. The world constantly offer us a dilemma.

In Matthew 10:16, God says “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”

Wisdom and harmless could not be apart, being wise (shrewd) without harmless will make us sly, and harmless without wisdom will make people can take advantages of us.

We need to build everything in our lives on the strong and rooted Rock, so we will not be waived and swayed of the world’s currents. We have to believe and stand firm in God’s Word and do not go aside from it. It is not easy, but we can do it as long as we don’t depend on our own strength.

 

LIVING LIFE WITH FEARING GOD ATTITUDE

We have been talking about leaders that have a servant’s heart, carry big responsibility, and have a good character and true heart, having integrity, build a human, and stand firm on the Truth. But it all will be not happened if we don’t have the most important thing and become a major requirement as a leader: FEAR TO GOD!

A good Christian leader must have heart that fear to God! We could be a good people just because we afraid to get the consequence if we are not obey to God. BUT if we aren’t having a heart that fear to God then the goodness will not endure when facing the temptation.

There is difference between fears to God with fear of “God’s punishment”. Many people fear to God’s punishment. They fear get into the hell, they afraid will not blessed by God, they afraid get infernal, etc. But fear to the Lord is not like that way!

AFRAID TO GOD IS BASED ON HEART THAT REALLY KNOWS AND LOVE GOD. Because of love, people who afraid to God will be willing to bear the Cross, willing to deny ourselves and obey to God, will do vision and mission from God and not seek its own advantages.

The fear of God will make someone stand firm in the truth path. Because of love, they will not sacrifice their precious relationship with God just for the sake of temporary world achievement.

Wherever our position right now, verily God has implanted DNA from heaven so we are able to be a leader. As a leader we are trusted to make decisions. Each level and area of leadership has its own problems, and every decision has different consequences. The higher the position of a leader or lead more people, the taken decisions will give the wider impact and will facing the greater temptations. We need wisdom. Therefore we must live in holiness and fear to God. Because “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 NKJV)  and “For the Lord gives skillful and godly Wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6 AMP) 

On the other hand, God’s word says:

“Because they hated knowledge And did not CHOOSE the fear of the Lord, They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies.” (Proverbs 1:29-31 NKJV)

Beloved leaders, let us always CHOOSE fear to God in every step of our lives  and let’s pray for the Holy spirit will pour God’s love in our heart. When we give ourselves to God, I believe these words will certainly be fulfilled in our lives:

“Then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them.” (Jeremiah 32:39 NKJV) 

Only through communion with Holy Spirit and God-fearing life will be born leaders that have great capability, wise, and endure to go through the process to be more trusted. Amen.

 

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images (edit with Pixlr App)

Break The Wall

break-the-wall-karinas-thought

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

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

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

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

 God’s promises, Faith, and Obedience

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

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

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

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

God’s way or our way

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: Google images

 

 

 

 

LEAVE YOUR “BIG BAG” (Guest Post)

leave-your-big-bag

I really love big size bag. Hand bag, tote bag, sling bag, or whatever it is I really love it as long they are big and have pouch “everywhere”. Well, I don’t even know when and how this fashion formed. Also don’t know the reason why! Maybe because of big size so I could bring much stuff or even I think I need to carry many things so need a big bag. I really just don’t know! The fact is this is a habit that very hard to be left.

A few weeks ago I suddenly really want to buy a new bag. Captured in my mind a formal, elegant and medium-sized bag would be very cool! But you know what happened? Ah…Again..! It’s not big enough, couldn’t, and I am afraid it would not be enough! Though initially I am interested with a medium bag my mind always filled with couldn’t, not big enough, and so on! And guys you could guess what happen next! Back to the habit! Big size bag stick on my hand!

Well, I really know carrying big bag with lots of stuff is the same like carrying a heavy load on the shoulder.  So often my shoulders feel so sore, stiff, and finally made my head dizzy! Friends, I always try hard to reduce the stuff to carry but I always difficult to decide which one I shouldn’t take it in the bag. It seems all stuff is important! But you know, in fact I scarcely didn’t need that damn stuffs.

 

UNNECESSARY BURDENS

Through the simple experience, the Holy Spirit teaches me an allegory, that quite often we bear unnecessarily burdens.  Sometimes unconsciously we did it for years. We become very familiar so that the burden stick strong in our soul, they shape our character and the way we thinking. It is so difficult to let it go. Increasingly the burden pressing and ensnare us. Make us unable to fully enjoy the joy and freedom in Christ, and make our steps become so hard and slow.

Burden could be anything. Could come in from life problems, but also could be made by ourselves. Examples:

-Pursuing achievement just for the sake of recognition of others

-Desire wants to get rich very quick

-Over perfectionist for the sake people couldn’t see our shortcomings.

-Trying hard to buy something far beyond the ability in order could be welcome in the certain social community.

-Manipulate our real situation because of shame or prestige

-Fear, anxiety, trauma, revenge, anger, disappointment, etc

-And the kinds of thing that do not grow our spiritual maturity, doesn’t bear the fruit of Spirit, doesn’t build godly character, doesn’t arouse hope and faith, and not make us dependent on God.

Whatever it is, all the things that hinder our walk with Christ are burden. Burden made us tired and weak. But there is good news.

 

INVITATION FROM JESUS

Jesus invites us through His Word:

COME TO ME, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST.(Matthew 11:28 NKJV)

HOW THE WAY?

TAKE MY YOKE upon youand LEARN FROM ME, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV)

Come to Jesus! Let Him take our burdens and replace it with the God’s yoke. What is that? Willingness to life along and in tune with God by always aligning ourselves with God’s word. As long as we always live in obedience to God’s word and doing His call, it means the same we bear the God’s yoke.

Jesus promised that His yoke is easy and light. It is true! Because the fact is, we would not bear the yoke alone. Jesus carries it together with us.

But as light as any, bear the Lord’s yoke isn’t automatically change us as easy as blinking our eyes become immune to the pressures of life. We still have problems. We could still worry, disappoint, fear, arrogant, greedy, and the other negative emotional. That is why Jesus the Lord not only says “Take My yoke” but He also says: LEARN FROM ME”

We must learn from Jesus. But there is no instant learning. Every learning is always takes the process, and every process always takes time. Learning always involves two parties, teacher and student. We are as students need to open ourselves to be taught by Jesus as our Master. All that will be successful if we always obey and have the willingness to not give up in any God’s shaping. Then, what should we learn??

 

GENTLENESS AND HUMILITY

Jesus specifically said about for I am gentle and lowly in heart”.Jesus is the perfect example in gentleness and humility. He who is the King of kings had to let Himself be born in the flesh even to death on the Cross. In Hebrews 2:5-9 we read that to immediately Jesus made a little lower than the angels, which incidentally are His creatures.

In the three times of temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), Jesus actually had the opportunity to prove His power but He was not provoked by the Devil. Jesus chose to submit to the Word of the Father, then He said, “It is written …”.Jesus put the word of God above all else.

Similarly, when the Lord Jesus on the Cross. Indeed, He has the power to liberate Himself and repay those who persecute Him. But Jesus knew the Father’s will that He should die on the Cross and He chose to be obedient and faithful in fulfilling the Father’s will. That’s all the evidence gentleness and humility of Jesus.

Gentleness and humility will take us on walks toward the fulfillment of God’s plan.

Only the gentle and humble man that can submit and obey, so it can be more easily shaped and transformed by God.

But again, all of them require obedience and continuous processes. Don’t give up, the Holy Spirit will enable us to go through all the processes.

 

LEAVE YOUR BURDEN AND SIN

“Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses , let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1 AMP)

There are many things could be a burden: health, financial, family relationships, spouse, career, and even ideals, all can be a problem and burden! It is normal we think about life problem. It means we are not indifferent. It is indicate we have responsibility. But do not let the thought drag us to the negative feelings that actually makes our soul depressed.

Leave our burdens by bring all the problems in prayer with faith and surrender all to God. The power of God is real and God’s help is always on time, even in ways that never occurred to us. There is a way out for all the problems in God.

On the other hand, don’t carry the “big size bag” filled with unnecessary things that could be a burden. Don’t fill our lives with self-desires, envy, angry, bitterness, worry, arrogance, and many useless things and sin. Do not open the door for sin because sin will ensnare us so we can’t run to reach the goals from the Lord.

If we always keep our steps day by day in harmony with God’s Word and faithful in the process to be meek and humble like Jesus, so we are freed from unnecessary burden.

Let us allow the Holy Spirit to change and shape our hearts, so that we are increasingly able to give the true response in all circumstances. Thus our souls will get joy and peace and we could more focus on doing God’s will.

God who commands us to do His will is God who have full of responsibility. He provides help, the certainty future with full of hope, and give assurance will be always going fine. The Holy Spirit will enable us to bear everything.

I pray this song lyric of HE WILL CARRY YOU could be a blessing for all of us. Amen.

 HE WILL CARRY YOU

There is no problem too big God cannot solve it

There is no mountain too tall God cannot move it

There is no storm too dark God cannot calm it

There is no sorrow too deep He cannot soothe it

 

Oh, if He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders

I know my brother that He will carry you

Oh, if He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders

I know my sister that He will carry you

 

He said, “Come on to me all who are weary

And I will give you rest”

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images (edit with pixlr)

THE TITHE (guest post)

the-tithe

Every believer will surely want to please God and live in His entire promise fulfillment. Some of us are praying, fasting, and serving God with hope will be blessed. It’s not wrong because God promise and longs to bless His children. But on the other hand there are certain things that we “should do first” before all of God’s promises fully fulfilled in our lives. One is to “give” tithes.

 

RECOGNIZING GOD GREATNESS AND WORKS

In a battle in Genesis 14, Sodom and some of its allies conquered by king Chedorlaomer. They took all the wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah, including Lot and all his possessions. Hearing brother was taken captive, then Abraham and his men were trained to chase and finally defeated them. Abraham took home back Lot and various possessions booty.

After Abraham returned with triumphant from the battle, Melchizedek meet Abraham and bringing the bread and wine. Then Melchizedek blessed Him. After that was written in verse 20“And he gave him a tithe of all…”

Abraham, the father of all who believe, the owner promises “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed…..” (Genesis 22:18), gave tithes to Melchizedek after Melchizedek blessed him!

Who was Melchizedek so Abraham gave tithes to him?

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God….first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” (Hebrews 7:1-2)

Now observe and consider how great  this was to whom even Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth  of the spoils. And it is true that those descendants of Levi who are charged with the priestly office are commanded in the Law to take tithes from the people–which means, from their brethren–though these have descended from Abraham. But this person who has not their Levitical ancestry received tithes from Abraham  and blessed him who possessed the promises . Yet it is beyond all contradiction that it is the lesser person who is blessed by the greater one.(Hebrews 7:4-7 AMP)

Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek because he admitted that Melchizedek is greater and higher than himself!

As believers, giving a tithe to God means recognizing the greatness of God and recognizes that all blessings we receive are from God. Tithing means to believe that God, Jehovah Jireh, is able to maintain and meet all our needs.

 

BELONGS TO GOD

“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, BELONGS TO THE LORD; it is holy to the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30 NIV)

Indeed, when bringing tithes to the house of the Lord, we are not “give” offerings but “bringing back” what actually belongs to God. But I still use the word “give” because God is not going to rob us. Although it is a must to do, but God wants us to do it not because of coercion, but with joy and love Him.

Tithe is belongs to God, God’s rights. It is not “if we can or “if we want or “if we are able”, but “WE MUST”! No matter in abundance or shortage, we must bring tithe to God.

 

TITHE IS A TITHE

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.” (Deuteronomy 14:22 NKJV)

Tithe is not a freewill offerings as we like. Tithe is a tithe, should not be reduced. God doesn’t look big or small of the nominal we give but God rather look to the amount is actually one-tenth of our income or not.

Some Christians that living in abundance think that the number of one-tenth of their income is too big, then they cut a certain number and assume that it is okay because after reducing the amount still very big. Otherwise, that who living in shortage assumes that it doesn’t matter if they not give tithe.

God’s word speaks strictly about those who do not give tithe properly:

Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You?  tithes and offerings. (Malachi 3:8 AMP) 

People who do not do or do not fully bringing back the tithe called the fraudsters and robbers who take what belongs to God.

 

TWO PROMISES

“I have a small income and not enough. If I still have to set aside for tithing, how can I meet all of my needs?”  Some of God’s child who have financial problem will think like that. Mathematically is true and logical but we don’t live based on the world standard. We actually lives in the law of Kingdom of God that supernaturally far beyond of human logic.

We believe that God is not selfish God who demands us to do His command without caring about our situation. God isn’t an extortionist and not a beggar. God is the owner of the entire universe and everything in it, including the breath of our lives. God doesn’t need our money. Then for what God asks us to give tithe?

 

TITHE OPEN THE DOOR OF BLESSING

Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10 AMP)

There is power in obedience. When we move to do God’s word, then the power of the word will work wonders and make the promise of God becomes real in our lives.

By Malachi 3:10, when we bring the tithes to the house of God, then God will open the windows of heaven and pour His blessings to us abundantly.

When you have very wealthy, God is able to bless you more. And if you are still in a state of a mediocre or even the needy, do not worry about your finances will worsen when you set aside a tenth of all your income.

We will not become richer by “reducing the amount of our tithe” and we will not become poorer because of “we cut our rations to bring tithe to God

I love to give a short testimony to you. Compared with people who have a lot of possessions, I am not a rich people. My life isn’t luxurious based on the world size. There are certain situations I also have to be thrifty. But no matter how much I get I always give tithes with joy and gratitude to God. I don’t delay it, do not bid, but even prioritize it. After tithing then I start to use the rest for other needs.

Until today I proved that I never lack because (Please forgive me should use the following words) I must cut ten percent of my budget for tithe. In fact, by faith I dare to say that I am rich in Christ. My life is happy. God has always helped me in all situations. God always provides all of my needs with His way and always on time. I enjoy His cares and loves. Also I am grateful to His way by using me to be a blessing. God’s promise is “Yes” and “Amen”

 

SEED PROTECTION

“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”  (Genesis 8:22 NKJV)

 “…..for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7b NKJV)

The Word of God depicts very clearly that this life is to sow and reap. A student must sow through studying diligently to achieve graduation with good grades. A marketing must sow through friendliness, product presentations, proposals, etc. to reap consumer confidence. An athlete must sow through exercise discipline and unyielding to victory in the match. Every aspect of life is about sowing and reaping. It is the same in the terms of finance and tithing.

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:10 NKJV)

Our job is to sow the seeds that have been provided by God. But there is time to wait between sowing and reaping. It is a crucial time span that will determine the outcome of our harvest because there is the devourer can eat the seed we sow and destroy the fruit so that eventually run out and do not give any results. But God gave His promise:

Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house….. And I will rebuke the devourer  for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:10-11 AMP)

When we obey bring our tithes, God promised give protection of our seed we sow in the land of our life so that it can grow and produce fruit.

Now let’s together see our lives. If there are certain things that we try the best but always failed or didn’t give the outcome as they should be, there may be a devourer destroys our seed and fruit. Are we doing disobedience especially about tithing? Let us pray and allow the Holy Spirit shows it to us and immediately repent

From the two points above, we know that the tithe is not to meet God’s needs but for the sake of ourselves.

 

ALL MUST

God gives the right to the sons of Levi to receive the tithe from the people as it is written in Numbers 18:21. But God’s Word also says that the Levites had to give tithe.

Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak (Hebrews 7:9 NKJV)

If Abraham, the father of faith, offered a tithe, then there is no single reason for us to not give tithe as well. No matter who we are and not matter what is our profession (church full-timer, evangelist, employee, entrepreneurs, etc.) ALL MUST bring tithe to God.

 

OBEDIENCE AND PURE HEART

Not bring the tithe it is the same with shut the door of blessing and opening the door of devourer to damage the fruit and foil our harvest.

God promises a blessing and protection for those who obey to bring tithe. Believe and put hope on that promise. God is pleased when we understand His word and then waiting for Him to fulfill it. But do not give tithe is only a motivation to pursuit His blessing. Scripture does not say “Wait for His blessing” but “Wait on the Lord”.

When we give tithe simply to waiting for God’s blessing then we will be people who always make calculation with God. We will miss love and purity of our faith.

This time let me remind you of something that I am sure we are all already know, that the tithe belongs to the Lord and we have to bring it completely to God.

There are two teaching about  to whom we should to bring our tithe.  Some churches teach the tithe should be given to the church,  some other allow tithe give directly to the needy. We don’t have to debate this thing.  Let us obey our church leader in which we attend,  embedded and grow: “Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them , for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account . (Hebrews 13:17a AMP). The Holy Spirit will lead us to the whole truth.

Dear readers, please allow me once again in the love of Christ to remind you:

All that we have received is not merely our efforts. All is a blessing and a gift from Heaven. Therefore bring our tithe faithfully. Don’t reduce the amount because the tithe is belongs to God, but do it all with gratitude and full of joy for our loves and obedience to God Father. His promise is sure to be evident to anyone who obeys Him.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV)

 

AMEN

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo credit: Google images (edit with pixlr app)

NOTE:

Dear readers, thank you so much for your precious time to read this post. Karina still on vacation in Japan. All comments will reply by Karina when she come back next month. Once again thank you and God bless you all. (Warm regards from Karina)