Tag Archive | faith

GOD’S LOVE IN THE SUFFERING (guest post)

Not a few Christians have the mindset that when they were saved and become followers of Christ their lives will be free of all problems and sufferings. Some of my friends were disappointed because their lives after receiving Christ didn’t get better and sometimes even become harder than before. And then they begin to doubt God’s promises that say,

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 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; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. (Isaiah 43:1-3)

For God do not afflict willingly nor grieve the Children of Men. (Lamentations 3: 33)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11-12)

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

 We all know that God really love His child.  If God is so good and loving, why does He allow suffering to His children? Even His begotten son had to suffer tortured beyond humanity and death on the cross.  This is the most common question that has been haunting many people especially for Christians. So, why the problems, trials, and tribulations seem to be part of our lives? My dear readers, this time, Sister Sella will give all of us an explanation as the answer of the question above. All comment hopefully could be reply by Sister Sella.  Thank you very much, dear readers.

 

Suffering is not a comfortable word to imagine. Even some of our prayers contain requests about the health, blessing, and protection of God. If we ponder more deeply, the point is to be escaped from suffering. But the facts… sadness, failure, loss, and the things connoted as suffering will always be a part of life. Not because God does not love us, but because the Lord has a noble purpose for our benefit:

Suffering is one of God’s ways to teach, mold, and purify His people: “Remember how THE LORD YOUR GOD LED YOU ALL THE WAY  IN THE DESERT these forty years, TO HUMBLE YOU AND TO TEST YOU in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 8:2 NIV)

And any suffering that we must bear because of the truth as the people who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, or the suffering that we go through in obedience to God, is a process to produce the unshakable spiritual quality and makes us more firmly holding on to God as the only hope. Not just for the present life but to eternal life: “Not only so, but WE ALSO REJOICE IN OUR SUFFERINGS, because we know that SUFFERING PRODUCES perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

The various forms of suffering – whether caused by sin and human error, or the suffering that God allows in the lives of His chosen people, like Job – all can be used by God to reveal His love even in ways that transcend our understanding !!

THE CARE OF GOD

A few weeks ago, one of the chapters in the book “A Heart for God” by Sinclair B. Ferguson helped me to see suffering from another perspective: SUFFERING IS ONE OF GOD’S WAYS TO CARE FOR HIS PEOPLE. But … If God cares and loves His people, why should He show it through suffering? So let’s see the life of Naomi in the book of Ruth.

Once upon time there was famine in the land of Israel. One from Bethlehem-Judah named Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, went to country of Moab to live there. Then Elimelech died there. Naomi was left with her two sons, who eventually married women from Moab, Ruth and Orpah. Then her two sons died too, so Naomi alone with her two daughters-in-law.

Naomi had two choices: stay in Moab in the sad memories of her husband and two beloved sons who died there, or return to Israel, the Promised Land, from where she came from. By God’s grace, Naomi returned to Israel with Ruth, Mahlon’s wife, who was determined to go wherever Naomi goes. This was Naomi’s word about her life:

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara,  because THE ALMIGHTY HAS MADE MY LIFE VERY BITTER. I went away full, but  THE LORD HAS BROUGHT ME BACK EMPTY. Why call me Naomi? THE LORD HAS AFFLICTED ME; THE ALMIGHTY HAS BROUGHT MISFORTUNE UPON ME.” (Ruth 1:20-21 NIV)

It was not words that comes out of a bitter and disappointed heart with God. It was Naomi’s recognition that GOD ALMIGHTY ALWAYS EXIST AND WORK in all her suffering. Naomi knew for sure that all things God allowed to happen in her life is to bring her back home, bringing her back to God and all His promises.

She remembered… when the famine occurred ten years ago, she and her family chose to leave Israel, the land on which the Lord had promised to bless and care for His people. Leaving the Promised Land is the same with to doubt the promises of God. She went away full, which is full of plans, hopes, and dreams of a better tomorrow, and possibly by bringing all their treasures, to build a new future in a foreign country. Then suffering for the sake of suffering was “forcing” her to return to the Promised Land despite with “empty hands”, nothing else can be expected and relied upon besides God!!

Sometimes we are also like that. When faced with problems, we don’t immediately seek God but instead seek help from others with our own strength. Sometimes we are so confident that we don’t fully rely on God until God allows suffering to rob all we have. Maybe it’s money, position, power, self-esteem, relationships, or anything else that WITHOUT WE REALIZE ALREADY REPLACE THE POSITION OF GOD IN OUR HEARTS. Sometimes we feel our hearts are right and our relationship with God is all right, until suffering discloses hidden secrets from the depths of our hearts and makes us realize our true reality. That’s when we are purified and our commitment with God is renewed!!

“I USED TO WANDER OFF UNTIL YOU DISCIPLINED ME; but now I closely follow your word. You are good and do only good; teach me your principles.” (Psalms 119:67-68 NLT)

Sometimes the bitter things permitted by God as a form of His care for His people. The care of God is not only about an abundant blessing, but also discipline, rebuke, and protection for His people. Discipline and rebuke so that we repent of sin and soon return to Him. Protection – not just for the salvation of body and soul – but also protect us from everything that potentially to lead us away from God. In order to care for us, sometimes God has to discipline, rebuke, punish, and let us through suffering for our good, like a father to his beloved child.

And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the LORD’S DISCIPLINE, and do not lose heart when he REBUKES you, because the Lord DISCIPLINES those He loves, and He PUNISHES everyone He accepts as a son.” (Hebrews 12:5-6 NIV)

If God allows us to suffer, that means God cares about our lives. Why go through suffering? Only God knows!! He knows before anything happens, He knows our hearts, He knows our tendencies toward everything, and He knows exactly how to treat each one of us. He knows when to talk to us through the word we read, through the words of others, through an event, or through suffering. When we ask “why”, no human answer can satisfy us. For He is God. It is impossible to understand His decision with our mind. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!.” (Romans 11:33 AMP)

One thing we must understand is that God is love and everything He does for us is out of love. When illustrated very simply, the God’s care is like parents who teaches and disciplines their children. A good parent will discipline their child to eat, learn, or sleep at the proper hour even if the child is in the mood to play. A good parent will supervise and not allow their child to do things that are not good for the child, and train their child to live in good habits that can make the child grow and develop to the maximum. When necessary, parents will be angry or punish their child who did wrong. In the feelings and limitations of a child’s understanding, of course the child will feel suffer and cry. But one day… according with their growth and maturity, they will know that all that their parents have done is for their good. So it is with our Father in Heaven. Whatever He does that makes us suffer is for our good, for He is a good Father.

THE GOOD FATHER

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN GIVE GOOD GIFTS to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

When we pray and say “Amen” about GOOD GIFTS from the Father, often what we imagine is: get promotion in career, prosperous life, running well in business, and other GOOD THINGS FROM HUMAN VIEWS. But something good in the eyes of man is NOT ALWAYS GOOD FOR US FROM THE FATHER’S VIEW because FATHER KNOWS US VERY WELL. Father really knows what is best for each of His children personally and specifically!! Something good for one of His children does not mean it is also good for His other children. We can not measure our lives by comparing with the lives of others. We can not say God is unfair because we have to experience a certain suffering, while others do not experience it. The Father gives and does every thing according to our maturity, His perfect time and His plan in each of our lives.

The good gifts of the Father is not only what is good for our happiness and prosperity in the world, but especially what is good and has an impact on our eternal life. Under certain circumstances and when if necessary, God can use the suffering in order to accomplish His plan although actually His heart is not willing to see us suffer: Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” (Lamentations 3:32-33 NLT)

The reason for every thing the Father allows to happen in our lives is: LOVE. If suffering has to happen (even if it is caused by our own mistakes or sin), it will not harm us because God’s purpose is not to destroy us but to build our lives in Him so that He can bless us and make us as His partner to do His works in the world.

In His wisdom and sovereignty, FATHER CAN DO GOOD THINGS THROUGH A BAD CIRCUMSTANCE, as God’s care in Naomi’s life. Who can surmise that after all the painful things she experienced, God not only restored her life but also touched the life of Ruth, even giving a new future for them both. Through Ruth, Naomi was supposed to live alone without heredity, eventually having a grandson, named Obed. As we know, Obed is the grandfather of King David. A priceless gift!

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

Therefore, if the situation is not good and suffering presses, do not lose hope because our Father must work together in it. But if we know for sure that we still have sin, it is better to straighten it out before God. God’s grace can sanctify and restore us. God is the Master to turn a ruined life into a new glorious one.

GOD WITH US

We can say that God’s care in Naomi’s life is remarkable because the Bible tells us the end of the story. But in everyday life, often we are in a dark valley without knowing “when and how” it will end. In such circumstances, our hope is that the good Shepherd never leaves us. His love always keeps us in spite of the time we can not feel Him. He always walks with us even though sometimes we can not see Him: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,  I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4 NIV) When God with us in the valley of the shadow of death, everything definitely in His control.

Dear reader, SUFFERING IN THE WORLD IS ONLY TEMPORARY, BUT THE LOVE OF GOD IS ETERNAL. If we remain faithful to God then we will get the reward: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Roma 8:18 NIV)

Therefore if God allows suffering to happen … Do not falter, because: “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” (Proverbs 24:10 NIV). Do not become weak, because: “The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain {or} trouble, but a weak {and} broken spirit who can raise up {or} bear?”(Proverbs 18:14 AMP)

All that power can only be obtained in fellowship with the Holy Spirit which will enlighten our hearts with His word, so that we may understand the will of God. Therefore, let us hold on to the Word of God when we are in distress. “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight. Your statutes are for ever right; give me understanding that I may live.” (Psalms 119:143-144 NIV)

Do not be angry and disappointed with God because His love never leaves us. The apostle Paul, who had experienced so much suffering in his ministry, said: “Rejoice {and} exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering {and} tribulation; be constant in prayer.”(Romans 12:12 AMP).

Let us still rejoice even though we are in the midst of suffering. Rejoice in the midst of suffering is not based on our feelings, but based on faith in every promise of God and believing that God must fulfill all of His promises, so that in the midst of suffering we can say: I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me.” (Philippians 4:13 AMP)

A M E N

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Additional source:  Sinclair B. Ferguson, “A Heart for God”, by The Banner of Truth Trust, Scotland, 1987

Note: I use this book in Indonesian translation, page 117-132   (“Hati yang Dipersembahkan Kepada Allah”, Momentum Christian Literature, Surabaya, 2010, cetakan-3, translated by Hendry Ongkowidjojo)

Photo Credit: Google Images  (edited with pixlr app)

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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)

 

A M E N

 

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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

Trust on the Each Piece

After formally retiring from all of his business activities, my father spent his daily time with gardening and playing with his grandson. But now he has a new hobby. Now he really interested playing jigsaw puzzle. Few weeks ago he asked me to buy some jigsaw puzzle from small to the large size. Excitedly he could spend for hours patiently along with my mom or alone choosing piece by piece of jigsaw puzzle then putting it together to the frame until the picture of puzzle formed perfectly. Though I’m not too interested to play jigsaw puzzle, I love watching its process. We all know what picture we will get from a box of jigsaw puzzle. We also know how many pieces of each jigsaw puzzle, but to make the picture complete need long process.

Every time I see the process of making a jigsaw puzzle, I always think about life in this world especially as a Christ follower. A jigsaw puzzle is a very good example to depict the parts of our lives. We live this life piece by piece, begin when we were in the wombs, then we were born, growing up, and become a mature. It’s called a life process and in that process, at times in one moment, period or the pieces of our life, beside happy things we have to experience and feel many unpleasant or even painful things. We may have to suffer because having big problems, maybe we should be mourning caused loss someone we love. When my father putting a piece of puzzle, he sometimes made mistakes or my son, Andrew, messed it up, and have to start all over again, so it’s with our lives, maybe there’s a part we have failed, whether in career, marriage, family, and many other aspect of life and we have to rise from the failure and start again from the beginning. All of it is parts of plan and grand design of God to us.

One similarity between the jigsaw puzzle and our lives is, both has own design and there’s a process in it. The difference is we already know for sure the design of the jigsaw puzzle but we often pretty hard to know what God’s plan to us is and what the grand design for the whole of our lives. Isn’t become a problem when our lives always running well but become a problem when we’re in difficult and unpleasant situation. We will start to ask God why we should to have all unpleasant things, we will begin to complain to God why have to suffer and why should to fail. Is this a part of God’s plan? What God actually wants?

Once again there’s a process completing a jigsaw puzzle and in the process is our own decision to choose each piece of puzzle to put it on the frame based on our own understanding or follow the provided tips and trick. Once we made a mistake then the main design will not formed perfectly. As well as the process of our live, as a human we are totally free to make and choose a decision to assemble each part of our lives. The question is, when we have to make decision and choice, to whom should we must rely and trust?  Whether we lean and trust on our own understanding, conviction, and ability or we totally surrender to God, completely trust in Him, and make God’s word as a great guide?

Dear readers, the process that we live isn’t an instant process but long process where there are times we have to cry, there’re times we’ve to suffer, there are moments we’ve to fail, and in the process of assembling all pieces of our lives, we cannot fathom God’s work, we cannot understand what God’s purpose is, we cannot even understand why we should have hard season in a process because our way is not God’s way, our thought isn’t His thought. God’s position is much higher than us.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

So, what should we do? There’s no other way besides handing over all the processes of our lives to God, doesn’t lean on our own strength, and trust completely in God. God’s word very firmly said:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding”  (Proverbs 3:5)

 Here, our faith plays important role.  Faith will enabled us to know and trust no matter how difficult the process, no matter how many tears, no matter how many times we failed, God’s plan and purpose is always beautiful as He has promised that:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

 When the beautiful time comes?  Next week?  One year later? How long we have to wait? Well, we don’t know when and how long we have to wait for. Maybe need tens of years like the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. Maybe like Joseph who experienced suffering and injustice for 20 years before he became ruler of Egypt. Or maybe like Noah who struggled more than 100 years to build an ark as God command. We don’t know, my dear friend. There’s nothing happens instantly. All need process and through process we live, God actually guiding us until we’re ready to see His beautiful plans. In time we will rejoice to see His beautiful plan that has been conceptualized flawlessly. Moreover, through uncertainty, confusing and hard time, failure, and all unpleasant things in our life, actually God has a purpose in order that we getting closer to Him day by day and our faith grow stronger. Eventually by faith that sees the invisible, believe the unbelievable, and receive the impossible*, we are able to really trust that God’s plan are always beautiful as He said to us:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

My beloved friends, we are currently assembling piece by piece puzzle of our lives and we cannot skip one of it. Each piece has its own place. Maybe this time we cannot see the final result the grand design of our lives. We cannot know the end of our journey; we cannot know the ending of our story. Our life isn’t like reading a story book where we can easily flipping to the last page so we could know the ending of the story or simply choosing the certain chapter that we like. We must live each chapter of our live in complete.

We cannot figure out what tomorrow will bring and what lies ahead. What we can do is, by strong faith put each piece of our life to God. Believe that every single piece of our lives is parts of God’s grand design, still being sensitive to hear God’s voice, remain faithfully follow His guide step by step, though we will have difficult time and even painful, keep trust that God is always with us as He promise  to us:

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

We don’t have to worry about our future. If God finally gave the Israelites Promise Land after long and hard journey in the desert, If thousands years ago God finally made Joseph as the greatest man in his era after facing hard times due to the ruthless betrayal did by his family, if God finally saved Noah from the flood, it all will also happens to our live now. If our lives seems too difficult to face, if our puzzle of life seems so mess and formless, please don’t worry and strongly believe God will not let us alone. He said to us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”(Hebrews 13:5)  Don’t ever lose of hope because God is source hope and He gives us hope (Psalm 62:5, 1 Timothy 1:1) We have to trust that each piece of our lives designed by God and become a part of His great plan for our lives, and at the end, our puzzle slowly but sure will be revealed, the jigsaw puzzle of our lives will be complete, and we can see the beautiful grand ‘Image” designed by God remarkably. Amen

Note:

This post was inspired by a wonderful post “How Will My Story End?” Wrote by my beloved blog friend Anna Bachinsky  Please kindly visit her awesome blog and read her wonderful posts. Thank you for your inspiring post, dear Anna.

Karina – Living by faith

*Faith quote by Corrie ten Boom

Image source: cdn.shopify.com

 

 

 

Candle of Hope

Once upon a time, there are four shining candles in a room. They are red, green, blue, and white candle. As time goes by, they are slowly begun to melt down. In the quiet night, was heard their talks.

 The white candle said, “I am a peace.  But unfortunately more and more people are not able to keep me even longer to appreciate the meaning of Peace. Therefore, I’d better just turn myself off” So little by little the blue candle goes out.

The green candle then said, “I am faith. But like the white candle, I also have the same fate. This time, there are many people don’t have faith anymore. Though they claim to have me, but sadly they place me at the bottommost of their lives. Not infrequently they sacrifice me solely for their own interests. It’s useless for me to keep light up. I will follow the blue candle!” Slowly the green candle dimmed and finally disappears.

With the sad and pessimistic feeling the blue candle also said, “I’m a love. But lately I often ask to myself, if love is still there? I feel people no longer look at me and think I’m useful. Today, the world is full with hatred. People hate each other. Love in human being is already fading. So I think there’s no point I am keep shining.” Soon, the light of blue candle goes off too.

There is one remaining candle that still shinning, the red candle and the room is getting darker. Suddenly, there is a little girl get into the room and she immediately fears because of the dark room. “Oh no… what is going on with you, candles? I am afraid of darkness. You must keep shine up and brighten this room!”  She begins to crying.

Then the fourth candle cried out, “Hey, dear little girl! Don’t be afraid! I am still here for you. As long I still there and light up, we can light on the other candles. I’m a candle of hope! Please take me and let’s light on the dead candles. Let’s light up this room so you will not be afraid again!”

The story of four candles above was told by mother when my father was in critical condition because of bad heart attack. She tried to strengthen me because I was a bit shock and down. This story gives us the message that what never dies in our heart is HOPE. Although Peace, Faith and Love are often dry, lost and dead in our lives, but Hope is still able to liven up many other important things in our lives.  My mom said, “Don’t ever despair because there is always hope as long we put our hope on the right place.”

My beloved readers, as human being who has weaknesses, I honestly say, I had a few moments losing my hope when I had to face how critical my father’s condition at that time. One of the team doctors said to me that the possibility to recover is only around 25%. It was so hard for me. I really wasn’t ready at all to lose my dad. Beside Father in Heaven, my father is everything to me. That’s why I said to the doctors to do anything for my father. If necessary, hired the best cardiac specialist in this world, I don’t care about the cost. My mother once again said, “Yes you could do anything for daddy! But, don’t forget one important thing, everything you do will be in vain if you not put hope on what you have to do”  My dear friends, to be honest, I feel slapped by my mom’s words. Then she excerpt one bible verse from 1 Corinthians 9,

… This is written that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. (1 Corinthians 9:10)

This verse has a meaning that we have do everything in hope. What my mom said was true. I can definitely do everything for my father’s healing, but it all will be useless if I don’t have a hope. Then my mom reaffirmed, “We must put great hopes on what we do. But please put our hope on the right place. Don’t put hope on the doctors and its medical equipment, but we must place our hope in God. Because it is written in the bible:

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

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

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

 These verses vividly show us where we should to put our hope in this life. There is only one in this world that can be our hope; He is God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is source of hope and through Jesus Christ He gives us hope.

My dad finally made it through a critical period after surgery. It can be happen not only because of the sophistication of medical technology today, also not just because of the greatness of the doctors to handle, but it all could be happen because God’s loving hand touched my father through the doctors and I was immediately back to the core, put my hope on God alone. Once we put our hope on God, then we will not disappointed because hope doesn’t disappoint and we will secure because there is hope and we will find the rest in God because our hope is come from God.

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

My dear friends, if this time any of us are in a dark room like a little girl in my mom’s story, we are afraid losing of someone we love like I was afraid losing my father, We are desperate because got a dead end for all the problems of our lives, this evening please allow me to let you know that there is always hope in our lives. There is always “A candle of hope” that could be able to brighten our dark lives. Immediately direct our view and mind to Jesus who gives us hope and as a Highest Priest. It’s our duty to keep up the candle still shining brightly. Let’s hold fast our hope in God without wavering as it says in Hebrew 10:23,

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Let’s do everything for the best but don’t put our hope to humans,

Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they? (Isaiah 2:22)

 Put hope of what we do in the Lord Jesus Christ who already sitting at the right hand of the throne of God the Father in Heaven. Amen.

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18)

Karina – Living by faith

The story is based on a “four candles” poem

Image by poetic of expression

IN HARMONY AND IN UNITY WITH GOD’S PLAN (guest post)

IN HARMONY AND IN UNITY WITH GOD'S PLAN

There is nobody wants to live in an ordinary or even futile life. In the deep down of their heart, everyone wants to be successful and reach the highest point in their lives. But the reality isn’t always like what we dream of. Many people get success but not least have failed. But there are some people who are in the midst of their great achievement still feel missing something. They have an impression that they supposed could be more optimal than the current life, optimal in a positive impact and to be a blessing to others.

If life is like a train … Whether we are on the right track and the right direction to achieve the goals that God has prepared before??

One of the driving factors for the accomplishment is a PASSION. If our passion IN HARMONY AND IN UNITY WITH GOD’S PLAN, then there is nothing could hold us to live beyond our limitation.

PASSION

As in the image of God’s creation, humans equipped with intellectuality, ability, and talent. It all enables people to do many things in appropriate with capacity and willingness to work hard. But among all that we do, there must be specific things we love, we want, and we dream of. A great desire that come out from the deepest of the heart to do and pursue something, and encourage us to live in, it is called PASSION.

Passion makes us “alive”. Without passion, we would just like a machine who doing something over and over, but without “the life” in it.

Passion gives us energy and strength to do the best, keep focus, and doesn’t give up easily. Passion makes us happy to work with and without compulsion. Passion even makes us willing to sacrifice many things so what we yearn for will come true.

GOD HAS A SPECIAL PLAN

Although some people may not realize what their passion, each person certainly have a passion. So we are. And as God’s children, we also know that God has a special plan for each of His children. The question is whether our passion in harmony with the Father’s plan??

If right now what we are pursued or what we live has been same with the special Father’s plan, it means we are on the right track and in the right direction. But if not, we will have inner turmoil because the spirit within us can be satisfied only when we live in the special plan of our creator! Then how to make our passion in harmony with His plans? What should we do that our in harmony and in unity with God’s special plan?

INTIMACY WITH GOD

From the beginning man was created to live in an intimate fellowship with God. But unfortunately mankind fell into the sin so that must be separated from God and loss of the glory of God: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NKJV)

The only way so that humans restored, go back to the initial quiddity that is live in an intimacy with God!

In this case we already on the right way because we believe in Jesus as the only Lord and Savior. However, although we have opened our heart to Him, God will never pervade us, yet God wants to build an intimate fellowship and fill us with His Holy Spirit. It means there are two persons in this fellowship. That is God and us.

In our fellowship with God, actually we are being changed to become more like Him. The goal is we can live in His fulfillment plan, namely when we were created by Him.

“For we are God’s handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus,  that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us , that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 AMP) 

In this process, we need a willingness to surrender and obedience to do His word, including submits our passion under His will.

SURRENDER AND OBEY

Longing of every God’s child is to know the Father and understand His will. But on the other hand, we also have our own dreams and passion that unknowingly sometimes contrary to God’s plan. What I mean of contrary isn’t the meaning of sin, but what we pursue isn’t same with God’s perfect will for us. For example, we really want to become a successful entrepreneur but actually God wants us to take the other profession or the other way.

If our dream and passion is still on our prayer and pondering, let’s learn to surrender it all to the God’s hand and obey His decisions. Isn’t so easy to let go our dream and passion especially when we struggle to achieve it, we have risked many things. We will feel a part of our heart gone. However, please believe me within our surrendering and obedience to God there is always blessing and Glory from God alone. The future that God has created for us is more beautiful than our own plans.

“If God does not allow our plans to be comes true, it means God has provided the better one for us.”

However, if right now we live our life in accordance with our passion and after long time we realized that God calls us to live in other way, it isn’t easy move on instantly. There is a responsibility must be completed. We have to experience consequences. But don’t be afraid and worry because God is able to do anything.

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19 NKJV) 

His name is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). There is wisdom and favor in Him. So let’s always to living in fear of the Lord and growing in the true knowledge of Him, because: “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning (the chief and choice part) of Wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight and understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 AMP)

To know God is so important. Increasingly we know God’s heart, will be easier for us to believe Him. When our faith is growing, and then will be easier for us to surrender and obey to His will. Further, the Holy Spirit will guide and show us what we have to do.

There will be no vain life process in the Lord. Every single detail of live we have lived, though even it was a mistake, all of that still can be “raw materials” for God to change our future if we are always surrender and obey to Him. Therefore we must be shaped and changed so that we are more and more in harmony with him.

HARMONIZATION

Life with maximum achievement can only be achieved if we live in God’s will. Like a train, the train could only travel at the maximum speed and arrives at the right destination when in the RIGHT TRACK / RAIL and RIGHT DIRECTION. For that we should be harmonized with God.

Harmonization is a process that must be happen in the fellowship with God. We are harmonized with God in all things. We have to harmonize in personality, character, the way of thinking, lifestyle, life goals, priorities, and so on.

More we cling to Him and obey to His word, we will be more in line with Him. The more we know him intimately, and then we will have His heart and mind. So from time to time our passion will be IN HARMONY AND IN UNITY WITH GOD’S PLAN because we have been transformed into more and more like Him.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 NKJV) 

In each process, the Holy Spirit works to change and renewal from the deep of us. Holy Spirit works FROM THE INSIDE of us. Holy Spirit is a helper that gives us strength to surrender, perseverance to be obedient, and courage to walk into the Father’s will. Then like on the right track train and on the right direction, we will reach the goal by goal that God has planned before.

If right now you are currently living in your passion and you know for sure that it is according with God’s will, then perseveres in prayer and still hoping until your dream becomes a reality.

Challenges will always there. But don’t ever give up. God is always being there beside us. There is nothing can stop us.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NKJV)

Keep walk in faith and live in intimacy with God. Always surrender and obey to God, and make sure your passion is always in harmony and in unity with God’s plan.

While doing our part, keep the dream and the passion was still burning. Continue to live in it and do everything in love to the Father. Maybe at first looks nothing special and ordinary, be patient and remain faithful! If it is God’s will, sooner or later will bear fruit!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13 NKJV) 

 

Amen

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images

Note: Dear readers, just because of Karina still focus on her daddy’s health, so by Karina’s permission this post uploaded be myself (Sella Irene). And for this time comment and like are disabled.

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

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