Tag Archive | Christ

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

Photo credit: Google Images

Edit with: pixlr App

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)

AGREED (Guest Post)

AGREED

By infinity love God came down to the world to save humans. From the outset His hand reached out waiting for us to accept Him. His great plan has been prepared for each people who willing to surrender to Him. There is no one that “simply” salvaged but each people are given the honor to work with God on this earth.

His plan is not ordinary plan, yet a terrific plan which is not affordable by the hand and human existence, EXCEPT when we willing to walk with Him! Not just to walk together, but hand in hand and AGREED with Him.

Like one yoke on the two oxen’s shoulder… Without a deal, two people cannot walk together and achieve the goal, because it will tug of war between the two interests.

“Can two walk together, unless they are AGREED?” (Amos 3:3 NKJV)

“Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t GOING TO THE SAME PLACE?” (Amos 3:3 MSG)

Amos, the Prophet speaks of the God of Israel. That verse is not just about the relationship of man with man, but the image of God and man walk together.

We will never be able to walk with God if we do not agree with him. Agreed with His mind, agreed with His heart, agreed with His ways, and agree with His objectives. That means we have agreed with the whole His word.

Agree with God means always say yes and no arguing (contend) with His word. When we do not do His word, that’s when we do not agree with him. When we act out of His word, that’s when we’re arguing (contend) with Him.

Agreed with God means always be obey to Him no matter the conditions! Indeed it is not easy for people have full of limitations and weaknesses. But there is ONE INFINITUDE WAY WITH GOD… THAT IS FAITH!

 

FAITH

If we want a life above average, let’s walk with Jesus. But, often His way is not the same as our way. Often our brain cannot understand His ways. His truth is always contrary with the world concept, but we must continue to be in it without compromise! That’s why we must have faith..

Without faith, there would be no meeting point between God and us. Without faith, no one is able to walk with Him. His plan is too magical. His ways is fathomless. His mind is immeasurable.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways!” (Romans 11:33 NET)

“O Lord, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, Nor does a fool understand this.” (Psalms 92:5-6 NKJV)

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 MSG)

Walk with God means live by faith. If we want to walk with Him, let’s prepared to believe and trust to His guidance. Not easy, but not too difficult, because God never leaves us to fend for themselves. He is with us, in us. Our part is to be always agrees with His word.

Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, the prophets, apostles and followers of Christ are faithful to the end, are the ones who agrees with God. They catch the vision of God and totally give themselves to live in it. They walk with the Lord faithfully though the world often opposed. Their faith is proven by obedience in their every action.

Faith is not just a “sense of trust”, but faith is always accompanied by concrete actions, because our works are evidence of our faith.

How can they catch the vision of God and are fully confident to stay in it until the end?? Because they do not simply have knowledge about God, but they live in intimate fellowship with God in their daily life.

 

LIVING IN HABITUAL FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

Our relationship with God is a very personal relationship. Jesus several times describes His people as the bride, and Christ is the bridegroom. And with the revelation of God, Isaiah, the prophet was uttered very beautiful prophetic about the relationship of God and His people:

For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:5 NKJV)

That’s supposed to be as close and as intimate our relationship with God. But our intimacy with God will be not established if we do not accustom and train ourselves to interact closely with God.

Enoch is a man who walked with God and continues to build intimacy with God in all of his life until God lifted him. “Enoch WALKED STEADILY WITH GOD. And then one day he was simply gone: God took him.” (Genesis 5:24 MSG)

As well as Noah

“These are the records of the generations (family history) of Noah. Noah was a righteous man [one who was just and had right standing with God], blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked (LIVED) [IN HABITUAL FELLOWSHIP] with God.” (Genesis 6:9 AMP)

They both were very thirsty for fellowship with God more than his contemporaries and God responded by use their life in unexpected ways.

God wants much closer to us compared to we want to know Him. When we seek God wholeheartedly and says “yes, I do” to Him, God will impart His power and change us until we have the capacity to be the doer of the divine plan of God.

“…..but the people who [are spiritually mature and] know their God will display strength and take action [to resist].” (Daniel 11:32b AMP)

“….. the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32b NKJV)

Only people who know God that can be His co-worker because to walk together with Him need agreement and unity in all things. If we don’t know God so we will not know His “language”. Without the same “language” we will impossible to understand each other. If not understanding each other will be impossible to agree each other. What is God’s “language”? How God speaks with us? The answer is through His word.

 

IN HIS WORD

“Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.” (John 8:43 NKJV)

God never acts contrary to His word. Because it is very important for us to diligently read, contemplate, and do His word. When we faithfully abide in the God’s word, then our sensitivity to the Lord’s voice will be more refined, our minds will be renewed, and our hearts will be more aligned with God. Thus, the easier it is for God to direct us according to His will!

 

CONTINUOUSLY WILLINGNESS

Our agreement with God begins when by God’s grace we open our hearts to receive Jesus as Lord and one and only savior. That’s the first step of our faith with the seed of faith that comes from God alone. Surely we are being welcomed His outstretched hand. It is our first step of walk with the Lord and begins to enter to His plan. Keep moving, don’t stop, don’t turn, and don’t turn back!

“Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38 NKJV)

The first step is the beginning of everything, but we cannot stop and be satisfied until there. If we want to continue to grow in God, so we must have the continuously willingness as when we have opened our heart to invite the Lord Jesus come into our heart. Continuously willingness to leave all of ego, seeking personal satisfaction, sin and worldly pleasures. Also willingness to always obey and formed by God until we will in the image of God.

We cannot continue to be the spiritual baby. We must grow to be adult, puberty, and is ready to become the bride of Christ. Only people who have grown that can be trusted well by God.

Continue to agree with God by constantly obedient to His every word. Many people want to know God’s will, but did not want to obey. Many people want to hear the voice of God, but do not regularly read God’s word. CAN NOT!

As the two persons who continue to closely communicate intensely, the longer they “language” will be the same, their thoughts and perspectives more aligned, and then they are more able to reach an agreement. So it is between us and God. If we understand “His language”, then we will be understand His heart, easily capture His vision, and easier to understand of His every instruction.

God does not force us. God is looking who are willing. Obey and do all of God’s will in willingness, then every our step of obedience will bring us to achieve the fulfillment of His plan for our lives.

May the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit will sustain us, so that we remain firm and able to remain faithful to all calls and tasks assigned to us resolved definitively, according to His will. Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Image source: Google Images (edit with pixlr app)

CHRIST IS ENOUGH (Guest Post)

CHRIST IS ENOUGH

This world will never free from a crisis such as the economic crisis, social, politic, energy, and so on. Some part, the impact directly felt in the society particularly related with the economic issues. When the world got crisis, cannot deny that many God’s child got the impact as well. Whatever the professions they are also experiencing the price escalation in the market. The Christian employer would experience lost of job, the Christian entrepreneur could get turnover derivation, or even bankrupted and lost their asset. As long as living in this world, there is no one will invulnerable with the problems. But whatever happened we do believe Jesus is God who in control over the world. There is nothing happens without His consent, as well as our life.

 

BITTER OR SWEET

There will be two reactions came out when God’s children got the crisis. Disappointed to God or not, complaining or be grateful, be apathetic or continue to believe and put hope in God, away from God or even love God more, spiritless to serve God because they felt that serving God was useless or even more viable, as well as a variety reactions that reflect two contrary heart condition: BITTER or SWEET.

In the normal situation, moreover when living in abundance and everything was going okay, it is so easy to be grateful and praising the Lord: “God, You are so good. Thank you. I really love you. You are amazing for me. I believe in You.” However, if in the opposite condition our heart really being tested! Whether the reaction that came out will be still sweet or our heart changed to be bitter. Thing like this is cannot be made up. Bitter or sweet are responses that came out from the deepest of our heart and refined by sorrow.

“As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.” (Proverb 27:19 NKJV)

Such as a foundation sturdiness of a building tested by shocks, as well as a human heart. When all the form of pleasure, position, luxuries, amenities, pride, and everything that gives comfort to the body and soul suddenly shaken or permitted by God to be taken from our lives, in fact would be appear on what foundation we build our lives. If the foundation is in Christ we will remain firm but if we put the sense of secure and happiness on the comfort of living, then when the economic crisis hit us and  everything didn’t go as good as usual our faith will shaken.

 

CHRIST ALONE OR CHRIST PLUS

Let’s have a look to the Israelites’ journey. With His mightiness God took the Israelites out from Egypt. Because of God, they that were originally had status as slaves, came out from Egypt with richness. “And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed…….” (Exodus 3: 21-22 NKJV)

Not only equip with possessions, God also always maintain that they do not hunger and thirst even in the desert. Their food is always fresh every day and the water came out from the rock of Horeb (Exodus 17:6).

God provides everything the Israelites’ needs. “And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.” (Deuteronomy 29:5 NKJV)  God protect and preserve them perfectly.

Not only act as a God who provided for their needs, the Lord himself who accompanies them along the way. “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.” (Exodus 13:21 NKJV)

It turns out this wasn’t enough for the Israelites. They were always reacting bitterly when every time faced inconvenience. Angry and complain. This was a daily thing that faced by Moses since the first step he leads Israelites out from Egypt.

When Moses took Israelites out of Egypt, the Israelites voluntarily followed Moses because they knew that they will go to the Promise Land which is abound with milk and honey, the place where they will live as free men and living in abundance. But, when in the journey they facing the difficulties they began to fall. Several times they fell into the idolatry and rebellion against God.

Their views were not focused on the Promise land but rather to the Egypt pleasures that has been left by them. They were complaining and got angry with God for the things about the comforts of life:  …“Who will give us meat to eat?  We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic;  but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (Number 11: 4-6 NKJV)

They just saw all the hardships that they go through on the way without remembering and are grateful of the deeds and goodness of God. In fact, they did not honor the God who has been with them, as if the Lord’s presence alone is not enough!

What about the humans today?  The modern humans may not make statues and worship it but many people adore luxuries, position, fame, and so on. Even many Christians lost their faith when they lose their wealth or anything they think is worth.

A friend of mine had left the Lord just because a mate who requested never comes. Other brethren in Christ didn’t want to worship God because his wife who prayed not healed but instead called by God to return to the Father’s house. Another person still attended the church but his faith is not pure anymore because he had gone to particular idolatry place to get the wealth. It was so sad to hear all of it.

Actually what we are looking for in this world? What is most precious to us?

Is CHRIST ALONE enough for us or the CHRIST PLUS: Christ plus His blessing, Christ plus His miracles, etc? What if that there is no “PLUS”?

Is our faith will remain firm as Habakkuk?

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17-18

I know that writing about this thing is much easier than live it. Currently I am facing the problems and waiting for the Father’s help. I really do not even know when exactly the help will come. I have to be patient and still rejoice in the Lord. It is so easy to say but not so easy to run it. But I am really sure the help will surely come. I can only pray and trying to live more earnestly and persevere in hope while do my part faithfully.

Christ is promising everything for us: to be the head and not the tail, keep going up and not going down, blessed abundantly, etc as written on Deuteronomy 28:13 (click here). But, what if for a moment we are allowed got decreasing like Joseph? What if for a moment our treasures are allowed retrieved like Job? What if we already fully alive to the Gospel but have to suffer like Paul who often suffers from hunger, shipwreck, jailed, etc.? (2 Corinthians 11:23-29)

Whether the Christ that we have is more than enough?

Or we have the heart to trade Him with the pleasures we desire?

Is the love of Christ is more than enough compared with everything so that we can say like the Apostle Paul:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 35, 38-39 NKJV)

 

ETERNAL INHERITANCE

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26 NKJV)

The world is not our last port. Our true destination is Heaven. Our true goal is Heaven. Life in this world is only a journey that must be traversed before reaching the eternity. Our focus is supposed to the Heaven but often our energy and attention taken up only to take care of the entire dynamic in this journey. It is so sad much faith of God’s children fall when encountering the problems in the journey then decided to leave God.

Maybe this time you are in trouble too. Let’s together strengthen our faith and hope in God. God’s promises are “Yes and Amen”. God will surely help us and His help even more intense and powerful than we expected. I strongly believe that it will be happens to you too! Just believe! Don’t allow the problems in this mortal world rob our eternal inheritance.

For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the Lord, who has mercy on you. (Isaiah 54:10)

We have been called and chosen by Him. Is not that special?! Don’t waste it. Come my brother and sister in Christ, we may not see each other in this world. But if we are remains faithful to the end, we will meet in our eternal home, in Heaven, along with an eternal inheritance of our glorious Christ. Amen.

 

Christ is enough for me, Christ is enough for me.

Everything I need is in You, everything I need.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back… No turning back!!!

The Cross before me, the world behind me

No turning back… No turning back!!!

Hillsong Live – Christ Is Enough – Live Acoustic (click here)

 

Note: Thank you very much for reading this article. All comments will be replied immediately by Karina after she goes back from her vacation. Jesus blesses you.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

https://sellairene.wordpress.com

 

Smyrna, The suffering Church

 

SMYRNA, THE SUFFERING CHURCH - Karina's Thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another affliction is the church in Smyrna had long suffering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Himself reminded:

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

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

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

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

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

The second reward is, “The Eternal life”

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

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

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

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

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

Karina – Living by faith

Supporting material resources:

Clarke, Adam. Commentary on Revelation, studylight.org

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

The Pulpit commentaries, revelation 2, studylight.org

Related post:

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

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

 

 

Image credit:  The Church in Smyrna. padfield.com

A Living Letter of Christ

A LIVING LETTER OF CHRIST2-Karina's Thought

 

Last week I got a surprise! My father in Hong Kong sent me a letter. I felt a bit strange. Not as usually he wrote a letter. Beside talk several things, it is written at the end of his letter, “I am so sure you will have a question why I sent you a letter. My dear, may this letter become a reminder.  I strongly believe  you still remember  one thing  that related  with the letter “

My mind immediately drifted away to many years ago when I was teen. Yes of course I always remember about a letter. At the time, I just had a problem with my parents and starting to moving forward and letting go my bad past.  My parents gave me words that later on will totally change my life. “ You are a letter of Christ” still strong remembered in my mind what he said, “World can be knows  about God through how we live our life.  We are are a letter or book of Christ who represent God’s character and His righteousness. If our way of life is right, then the truth of God will shine from us. Otherwise if we claim to be followers of Christ but our lives contrary to what God wants, then we just become a stumbling block and scorn before others. We are an open letter of Christ who could be so obvious seen and read by people around us. Therefore, we have to be a testimony that can reflects a figure of Christ through our attitude and deeds”

As a God’s child we actually are a letter that fraught of Christ’s writing, not written by an ink but with the God’s spirit, and written directly in our heart. As Paul wrote epistles to the Corinthians,

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

(2 Corinthians 3:3)

A letter written by God’s spirit

I once read an article said that in 1991, nine pieces letters of Mark Twain the author of Tom Sawyer to his daughter sold for US$ 33.000. A piece of his daily letter could be sold for US$ 1,200 to 1,500. We may not have Mark Twain’s letter but in fact we have a set of priceless letters than Mark Twain’s letter and we are the letter itself that written not by an ink but with the Holy Spirit and also not written on the ordinary papers but direct on our heart. We are not just a daily letter; we are the special and priceless letter that contains magnificent stories about Jesus Christ.

A letter that brings the light

Besides reflecting a figure of Christ, as a letter of Christ, we are also a letter that can bring the light to the world as just Christ is the light of the world. As follower of Christ, we are called to be a light that brightens the “hidden corner” and brings many people to enter into the God’s glory.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.(Matthew 5:14 -16 NIV)

A letter that be a witnesses

We are also should to be witnesses of Christ to the whole world as it says in the book of Acts,

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)

This is Jesus’ last message before He ascended to the Heaven. He describes in detail the steps that we have to do to be a witness. The initial step is in Jerusalem first, that refers to the environment or the city where we live. Then from there we move to the larger scope that is the whole of Judea, talk about the nation or state, and Samaria, describing other nations outside of Christian from there finally we reach the final stage, namely to the ends of the earth.

A letter that brings love and hope

For God loves us, every aspect and side of our lives it is proper to be a paper that used by God’s pen strokes to proclaim His greatest love to this world. So that people will read and know how great God’s love to us until He willing to gave His only son poured His blood on the cross.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Today, there are so many people around us lost their hope.  As a letter of Christ we have to show that if we life in God, there is always hope no matter how difficult our lives today. As written in The Holy Bible,

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5 NIV)

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, (Hebrews 6:19 NIV)

A letter that reflect the glory of Christ

Our lives should reflect the glory of God and we shall be transformed into the same with His image. When Moses came down from Mount of Sinai after he spoke with God, his face was shone reflects God’s glory.

…, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was. (2 Corinthians 3:7 NIV)

Paul said that we can get great glory if we have a very close relationship with Christ and we will be like Christ because we are transformed by the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

(2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)

Now our problem is in our daily lives, have we become a true letter of Christ that always shows the figure of Christ, brings the light to the world, being a letter that tells the story of God’s love and hope, and reflect the glory of Christ? Or just the opposite, our lives only become a stumbling block, mockery, or even we are like a Christians who become a hindrance to people who wants to know more about Christ just for the trivia reasons? Mahatma Gandhi once had a rather hurts experience when he rejected to get into the church just because the differences of skin tone (Racial differences). He once said: “Suppose Christianity just like a sermon on the mount, and then I already become a Christians. But because the live of Christians I do not want to be a Christian” Friedrich Nietzsche who really hate Christianity said, “I will believe in their (Christian people) salvation if they are a little more looks as Christians who have been saved

My dear friends, what about us now?  Whether every single deeds and word  that came out from our lips has been reflect a letter of Christ? Or even without we realized we already disgrace the holiness of the letter that written by Holy spirit? Today, let’s we look back to ourselve and ponder again how our spiritual life quality. Just be a realsistic. In this difficult era it is not so easy to remain become a trully letter of Christ. In everyday  lives we always face so many problems, challenges, and also the world temptations that could weaken our faith and make us fall into the sin. Therefore, it is very important to us to always guard our heart in order not to conflict with Christ personality.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverb 4:23 NIV)

This verse firmly and clearly describes that everything radiated form us is came from our heart. And what was written in our heart will surely determine what people will read through our attitude and deeds. By always guard our heart then we will reach a level that God wants that is become a perfect.

Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48 NIV)

Let’s together guard our heart by always fill our heart with God’s word and do His commands because His words is a light as  a compass that direct us to the right path so we will not lost in the darkness.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105 NIV)

We should to always hear and learn about God’s word because it is a practical foundation to us as a Christians. If we remain seriously learn about God’s word  we will more fear to God for we will know and understanding more about His will.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)

We also have to remains maintaining the intimacy of our relationship with God through prayer and  always living in His spirit so there is no gap at all for Satan to come in and ruin our lives.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8a NIV)

My beloved readers, God’s Spirit does not leave meaningless rough streaks in our heart but He actually scraping His pen with beautiful writings that describes His mightiness and His wonderful love the world. We are not just  an ordinary letter. We are the open living letters  that in each pages represent God’s character who live in us. A beautiful and meaningful poem written by my sister Sue Nash will end this post. Let’s read and ponder together. Amen.

God’s Living Letters

Our hearts were cold, consumed with pride; 

Tablets of stone,no hope in sight.

Our lives were marred; death’s curse did chide,

Until our script, God did rewrite.

***

No changes wrought, with how we tried, 

By striving hard, His laws to keep. 

So God engraved His Word inside, 

That from our hearts, His truth would speak.

***

Lost souls then stained, with sin’s dark dross, 

In need of help, deliverance.

Christ’s blood poured out, upon the Cross;

Our wrongs were purged, in one instance. 

***

God’s light now shines, His love does flow,

When as we yield and let Him lead. 

God’s hope we bring, His truth we sow,

For all of those who choose to read.

***

Our lives like scrolls for all to see,

God’s very own, parchments complete. 

No more of self, we’ve been set free,

To follow Christ, bow at His feet.

***

Amazed, how love loosed sin’s tethers;

That hearts like ours, God freely chose

Now born anew, like living letters,

Our lives emit salvation’s prose.

By Sue Nash/2015

Special thank you to Sister Sue for her beautiful poem.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: maeclair.net

We are The Body of Christ

we are the body of christ
Have you heard the story of a little child trying to fall asleep in a dark room? The child began to cry and her mother came to assure her that God was with her and she didn’t need to be afraid. But soon the child began to cry again. She told to her mother “Oh, Mommy, I want someone with skin on!”

She stated something essential to life and faith. God is real but we also need the body of Christ. Abstract ideas are not enough to sustain us. We also need to experience the love of Christ.

We need to put our love and faith in action. We need to share the good news of Christ by loving others as Christ loved us. We need to be God’s hands and feet in the world. The world is in dire need of someone with skin on to show them what real love is.

So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. (Romans 12:5, AMP)

We truly are mutually dependent on one another. We do need each other. And together we need Christ. Blessedly he protects and cherishes us in many amazing ways. We are his body on this green earth.

For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members (parts) of His body. (Eph. 5:29-30, AMP)

We are members of his body. Our calling is to share God’s love with everyone we meet. Our task is to be skin to the world. What is your place to be skin to the world? How are you going to embody God’s love?

Gracious God,
Thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to us.
Thank yo for calling all of us to be part of the body of Christ.
Thank you for sending us to embody your love to others.
Equip, empower, and encourage us for your service.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Karina – Sent by Marianna Stalnacke – Flowing Faith.

Photo credit: Google Images