Tag Archive | Babylon

Renewed Strength (Guest Post)

Who is never tired and weak?  Who has never weary and felt helpless?  All of us have experienced it.  Is it normal?  Of course, because we are human.  We live in an endless stream of times, regardless of what our circumstances are.  There are times when we feel relieved because one problem is resolved, but a new problem is waiting.  Life continues to force us to walk, whether we are strong or not. Sometimes we want time to pause so we can put all the heavy burdens down, but that’s not possible.  Indeed, there are times when our lives are peaceful and everything is fine.  We are relieved and hope that there is no more pressure.  But that calm is only temporary, because something bad, which we never imagined and we don’t want, can happen suddenly.  When we are depressed, we cry out to God, hoping for a miracle.  But the situation didn’t change, sometimes it even got worse.  Maybe we wonder, does God not hear our prayers?  Does He not know what we are going through, or does He deliberately ignore it?  In the midst of that situation, we are still trying to survive and try not to fall, but some of us may become tired, even want to give up.

If you are weary and weak, tired due to the burdens and pressures of life, let’s read what the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Why do you complain, Jacob?  Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

(Isaiah 40: 27-28 NIV)

These verses are part of a prophecy from God written by the prophet Isaiah in his last years, to give hope and comfort to God’s people during their captivity in Babylon, 150 years after Isaiah’s time.  God’s people were rebuked for their unbelief and discouragement in the face of suffering, which they thought was so heavy and sad, as if it was hopeless.  The rebuke was also followed by God’s statement about Himself, that He is eternal God, Creator of all things, Ruler of all things.  He does not weary and he does not become weak.  His understanding is unfathomable.  There is no problem so great that He cannot solve and He is able to punish Israel’s oppressors, even though Israel’s years of captivity seem to give the opposite impression.

The same thing God says to us today.  Although sometimes God seems to allow injustice or bad things to happen in our lives, God actually cares about us.  He does not run out of ideas and ways to help us.  He has wisdom to save.  His understanding is unexpected.  He is extraordinary at arranging things to accomplish His purposes and plans, but He has His own path and timing. God’s wisdom in managing human affairs is beyond our understanding.  That’s why we need strength from God in order to live life in this world full of problems.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

(Isaiah 40: 29 NIV)

“He gives strength to the weary” in this verse is very similar to Jesus’ statement, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” in Matthew 11: 28-30.  This is an invitation to draw close to God and live by His standards, in order to obtain the strength He promises.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40: 30-31 NIV)

Anyone can be weary, weak, tired and utterly fall.  But only those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  Those who hope in God will surely wait on God. Waiting on God is not waiting passively or doing nothing.  Waiting on God is an attitude of waiting with hope, joy, patience, diligence, while still doing what has to be done, like a farmer waiting for the harvest time.  Waiting on God is an active attitude.  We can see this attitude in the parable taught by the Lord Jesus in Luke 18: 1-8 about the unjust judge and a widow who constantly urged the judge for help.  “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (verse 1)  So, the important thing we have to do during this waiting period is pray without giving up.

God promises that those who wait on Him and hope in Him will receive new strength, a divine power that renews our human strength.  A divine power that makes us energized and refreshed, in the midst of fatigue in living a life full of struggles.  With this renewed strength, we will be able to overcome the problems of this world, even enter into the sanctuary of God, like an eagle flying high into the sky on the strength of its wings.

Waiting on God to give us the ability to run spiritually and be able to move forward without feeling weary and tired, including when God suspends His help.  When we hope fully in Him, we will be able to carry out God’s commandments with joy, perseverance and persistence, because we know our waiting is not in vain.  We are human but we have a super and extraordinary God. Life is not easy, yes, but we have an eternal and powerful God, whose wisdom is unfathomable and incomparable.  It is okay if you are feeling tired, weak and helpless right now.  The most important thing is to immediately come closer to the Lord Jesus and wait for Him.  God will renew the strength of those who hope in Him, so that we will not only be able to overcome problems, but also continue to progress and our spirituality will grow even more.  Lord Jesus loves you.

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images ( wallpaperscraft.com ) edited with pixlr apps

TRUST GOD’S HEART (guest post)

As believers, prayer is like an entrance to a hopeful path, that along the way we can get answers to all the struggles. In every hope we bring to God, the happiest thing is if God gives us what we ask for. But the fact is we do not always get what we want, even if we plead with tears!!!

Many of God’s children pray for years of asking for miracles, but are instead faced with the opposite of their hope. While at the same time there are children of God with similar problems rejoicing in receiving the miraculous help from the hand of God. If we are in such a position, can we still trust God? Can we still believe that God is good while our situation seems to deteriorate? What is wrong? Do we lack of faith so we failed to obtain what we “believe in”? Do we still keep certain sins so that our answers to prayer are hindered? Before drawing a conclusion, let’s learn from some of the stories in the Bible.

 

IF NOT

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were descendants of the tribe of Judah who were brought to Babylon when king Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem. In Babylon, they were part of a chosen Israelite who was educated for three years and then worked for the king. Although they received special facilities from the king’s palace, they did not defile themselves at all. They were committed to always worshiping the God of Israel. God gave them knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, which made them ten times smarter than all the magicians and astrologers in Babylon (Daniel 1:20). So the king promoted them to sit in government. Then came the time of their faith and faithfulness to God was tested.

King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue. Whoever does not bow down and worship to the statue shall be cast immediately into a fiery furnace. When the king was angry because the three of them refused to worship, then Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who in Babylon was called by the name of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, with boldly answered the king:

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But IF NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed that God was able to deliver them. But they also said, “IF NOT”. “If not” here was not “if God was not able” but “if God was not deliver them”. Whatever happens they will still worship God and will not bow down to the idol. The statement stakes not just losing their reputation, position, and wealth, but their lives! That’s not a fictitious belief. Their faith was pure, without falsehoods.

The result is… The furnace was heated seven times more than usual, killed three men who took up them, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked with the angel of God in the midst of the fire without the slightest burning. Even the smell of the fires was not on them, as if a serious problem that just happened did not really happen to them. What an amazing faith that has been responded by God with a miracle that escapes them from the death.

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b NKJV)

God always responds to faith. Great things are always born from the prayers of the righteous that based on faith. Strong faith will not easily falter although “IF” God do not help. But one important thing we must ponder: Could God not help His children?? Impossible! God MUST help us because God loves us so much. It’s just His way that is not always the same as we want it to be.

 

DURING THERE IS A CHANCE

“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.” (2 Kings 18:3 NKJV). When we read the books of Kings and Chronicles, we will find many similar sentences. Several times the Lord mentioned David’s name as a benchmark for kings who did what was right in His sight. Even in the New Testament Jesus is called the son of David: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1 NKJV). Even farther: “He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22). All these statements show how God pleased David. But… If the prayer of a man who is pleasing in the heart of God will always be granted by God??

One day the son of David with Bathsheba was sick. For many days David fasted, prayed and cried for God’s mercy so that his son was healed. The result is his son died. Whether David disappointed?

So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” And he said, “WHILE THE CHILD WAS ALIVE, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife. (2 Samuel 12:20-24a NKJV)

DURING THERE IS A CHANCE… That while his son was alive, David did not lose hope. He prayed, fasted, and believed that his son was healed and lived. But when reality differs from his will, David is not disappointed. He still worshiped God and even entertained his wife. With such extraordinary spiritual qualities, why did not God give according to his prayer? Was David “lacking of faith” so that he did not get what he was praying for? Certainly not!

Faith is not measured from “the outcome of faith”. We do not put faith in “the conviction that something we ask for we must have”, but we put faith in the person of God Almighty who can do everything, no matter whether God will do what we ask or not!!! If we put faith in “the outcome of faith” or answer to prayer, then our faith will easily waver if God does not grant what we pray.

True faith means believing in the LORD’s PERSON and not only ON THE WORKS OF HIS HAND!
If God chooses not to do what we ask, it does not mean that God is incapable and does not mean that we are lacking of faith, but because in His omniscience God knows what is better for us.

Keep hoping and praying in faith while there is still a chance. Do not give up! Keep believing and do not be disappointed whatever the outcome. There is always “a hidden blessing” behind every problem and God’s plan is always more beautiful beyond our expectations.

 

YES, NO, WAIT

The two stories above illustrate a prayer based on firm faith. Faith is not wavered by any answer of God. What about us? We know that God always answers prayers. If God answers “YES” we will get what we ask for. When God answers “No”, it means God does not grant our request. And if God has not given an answer, then we must “WAIT”. Until when? Only God knows. We must be patient and keep faith because in times of waiting all possibilities can happen. But do not worry. Though the problem persists and seems to be more complicated, God always keeps us and is in control of everything.

So what if after waiting, it turns out the answer is “no”? If God finally answers “no”, why wait so long? The answer to prayer is always related to God’s plan. We can only measure from the life we have lived and from the planning that we think is good, but God sees our whole life from beginning to end. If God allows anything to happen it means God is working His plan in our lives. Many times we could not understand of God’s ways. All we need is to believe. Believing that God is good, believing that God works together in all things to bring good to us as written in Romans 8:28.

Time and answer of prayer are God’s sovereignty. We can not force faster or slower. We can not question why one prayer is answered “yes”, the other is answered “no”, and another prayer “wait”. Whatever the answer of prayer we receive, that is the best gift from God for our future. If we truly believe in God, we must submit to His will and not impose our will.

In the struggle of the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He set an example of prayer for all of us: “And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36 NKJV). That is a prayer based on true faith.

True faith does not just stop at “I believe that all things are possible for God”, but in an attitude of submission and surrender: “Not what I will but what God’s will.”

True faith always SUBJECT TO THE WILL OF GOD. Do not ever assume and treat God like a vending machine that once we put the coin into the machine and we simply press the button of the stuff, then immediately we get what we want. We can not force God to make Him willing to obey our will. Precisely in submission and surrender to the God’s will is reflected the real of our quality of faith.

Right now, let us ask the Holy Spirit to light our hearts. If indeed we still have sin, let’s ask God for forgiveness. Let us settle our relationship with the Father so that we may know Him better. The Father’s heart is good and always wants to help His children. Everything we need has been guaranteed by the Father. He knows everything more than what we want and need. If the answer of prayer we receive is not what we ask, then God is preparing for something more beautiful, more noble and eternal. Do not measure the goodness of the Father solely from the deeds of His hands. Do not doubt and question His answer. He is too wise to do wrong. He is too good to do evil. If we do not understand His plan, if we can not see the deeds of His hands, just TRUST HIS HEART. He loves us so much.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32 NKJV)

 

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By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images – pixabay.com  (the text edited with pixlr app)