Tag Archive | grace

MEANINGFUL LIFE UNDER THE HEAVENS (guest post)

Centuries ago, a wise teacher conveyed his reflection on the meaning of life.  In his writings classified as wisdom literature, the Teacher said, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2 NIV)  Yes, the time for birth is the beginning of a human being under the sky. But this isn’t an endless journey.  There is a time limit that no one can reject, namely the time to die.  Among these two phases, humans live a life full of color and dynamics.  Humans work, study, have fun, work, enjoy happiness, partying, prosperity, success, but in it there is also pain, loneliness, pain, poverty, destruction, and experiencing injustice.  All can come at any time, to anyone, whether they deserve it or not.  About all of that, the Teacher who was rich, powerful, and had the potential and opportunity to enjoy everything available in the world, gave his skeptical views: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.  “Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1: 2 NIV)  Then, about the various things that humans do throughout their lives under heavens, the Teacher concluded pessimistically that all these things are “chasing after the wind.”  What does that mean?

 

HEBEL, HEBEL, HEBEL

Hebel, a Hebrew word which in some copies translates as vanity, meaningless, futility, is a word that is repeated 37-38 times in Ecclesiastes.  Hebel, a word that means “through the breath, a breeze, a smoke, water vapor” is a very appropriate word to describe how short human life is.  Whether living for 30, 50, 60, 70, 90, or 100 years, all is like a single breath compared to limitless time, namely eternity, where every human being will go.

Hebel is the same word that is also used in Psalm 39: 4-6.  “Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am.  Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.  Selah.  Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they [b]busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches,  And does not know who will gather them.” (NKJV)

As with the Teacher, the Psalmist also viewed human life as “hebel”.  Very short, as a flash of shadow passed.  Contemplate … how briefly it can be finally be truly in vain if man only seeks satisfaction and the meaning of his life from what is transitory and temporary!  Then, what is the benefit of grandeur and pride under heaven, if in the end all things that are painstakingly pursued and maintained must be abandoned, and not contribute anything to eternity.  Up to this point, it is perfectly appropriate for the Teacher to describe it as vanity and chasing after the wind.  Then, how should humans go through life so that they aren’t trapped in a vortex of futility and a chasing after the wind?

 

CHRIST BE THE CENTER OF LIFE

The teacher doesn’t mean to say that human life is meaningless and useless, but that is what will happen if humans live their lives in their own way and do good things according to their own thoughts, without really seeking God.  Therefore, let’s return to the Teacher’s statement about the time for humans under heaven: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die.”  This statement shows that God has full power and sovereignty over everything, including determining the time of birth and death of everyone, without humans being able to choose for themselves.  However, between birth and death there is a period of time in which humans live their lives and in this life humans are given free will to determine their own choices, including those relating to relationships with God.

Praise God the Father, if at one moment we have made the decision to receive salvation in Jesus Christ.  It is grace that has transformed our status into a child of God and made a significant difference to our entire life.  When we accept Jesus Christ, at that time there is also a displacement of purpose in eternity, namely from death to life, from curse to blessing, from vanity to the divine vocation.  Faith in Christ is a step that immediately puts us on the path of grace which provides unlimited power and opens opportunities for us to do noble things that are eternal, according to God’s time and determination.

The power has been given by God, His help is available, but how the outcome depends on how we live our lives, whether we really make Christ the center of our lives or not.  Making Christ the center of our lives means making Christ the only foundation, source, goal and motivation, which controls all our thoughts, actions and attitudes in all aspects of life.  The sincerity of making Christ the center of our lives will be reflected in every choice of our response to everything that God has permitted to happen throughout our lives.  Whether we obey the desires of the flesh or the will of the Holy Spirit, obey our feelings or obey to do the word of God, continue to believe or be disappointed with God, and remain faithful to the end or leave God.  In the end, the choice for choice will determine the life we ​​live in, in vain or produce fruit for the Kingdom of Heaven.  Later, we must give accountability before God.

 

ENJOY LIFE IN THE FEAR OF GOD

” Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14 NIV)

Actually, this whole life journey is a preparation for an inevitable responsibility, which must be faced by each person, personally.  Later, there is no reason and defense for every sin and mistake, because God has given us a lifetime opportunity to repent, be changed and shaped by God.  Therefore we must truly live right before God, because all of our responses to God when we are still alive today greatly determine how and where we will be in eternity.  God has bestowed salvation, given the Holy Spirit as Helper and Comforter, and has given the word that becomes the guide and contains the promises we need.  We just have to always live in fear of God.  Not fear of His judgment, but fear of God because we love and respect God.  So, we will be able to see and respond to this life properly so that we can receive and enjoy what God has provided in our lives with satisfaction and gratitude.  Thus, our focus isn’t on the pleasures of this world, but on God who gives everything.  As the Teacher’s advice: “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.” (Ecclesiastes 5: 18-19 NIV) 

Life isn’t easy, maybe we have done wrong and failed many times, but as long as we wholeheartedly want to surrender ourselves to God, then God will help us rise again and again.  His love always forgives and His power certainly strengthens and enables us to live according to His purpose and plan, so that our lives and labors aren’t in vain.  Then later … when we stand face to face with God to account for our every act, we will look at the face of Jesus Christ without feeling accused, but with relief and gratitude because God has made our lives meaningful.  Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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

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YOU ARE PRECIOUS MORE THAN YOU HAVE KNOWN (Guest Post)

The most beautiful pearl of life are often hidden deep in the heart

Imprisoned by the hardness and the fragility of the soul

Covered by sorrow and a fleeting pleasure

Distracted by ambitions that sometimes makes man be delirious

 

There is no way to get there, except to surrender to the will of the Father

Allowing His hand to disclose all that is hidden

To let go off everything that you think of as a treasure but actually rubbish

 

Only by following His call and living in His ways

You will find the most beautiful pearl

At that moment, you will understand who you really are

That you are more precious than you have ever known!

 

(Sella Irene – Beautiful Words)

 

Have you ever felt that there is “something” that is lacking even though you have got everything you want? Have you ever felt you should be on a particular path or have to do something that you may not know exactly what it is, but you know that you are prepared for it? Does your heart flush with desire to be an extension of God’s hand more than you have been doing? I call it all “the spiritual hunger and thirst” that coming out of our souls and spirits that wants God. This hunger and thirst for God will push us to seek God, draw nearer to God, and find His calling.

We are designed to live in God’s call, and for that God has equipped us. If we think we have developed all of our potential, we are wrong! For surely God has invested in us a much greater potential than what we already know today. But we will not find it until we give our whole lives to enter into the plan that He has set apart for us from the beginning. The psalmist paints beautifully how God knew us long before we could know Him.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, [And] skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When [as yet there were] none of them. (Psalms 139:13-16 NKJV)

There are at least two things we can get from this Psalm: WE ARE VERY PRECIOUS FOR GOD and WE ARE IN THE PLAN OF GOD.

First : WE ARE VERY PRECIOUS FOR GOD

Man is the culmination of God’s creation. Every human being is created personally, not mass production, not copy and paste. Behold, no human being is physically identical to any other human being. Timbre sounds, face details, pupil color, hair, fingerprints, and so on. Even twin brothers still have differences. It shows how creative our Creator is, and how special every one of us is!

If we are so special to God, then there is no reason for us to disrespect ourselves. Therefore one of the fundamental things we must do is to fully accept our existence. This isn’t “accepting” in the sense of tolerating and compromising our weaknesses and sins by reason of “this is what I am”. No, this isn’t like that. To fully accept our existence is: on the one hand to realize our weaknesses, but on the other hand we also appreciate our existence as God’s grace, whatever and however our condition. God knows our weaknesses and ugliness, God knows all our sins, but God still loves us.

The Lord Jesus describes His love for us as the Father’s love for Him: I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you]…… No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends. (John 15:9,13 AMP) The Father is willing to give His beloved Jesus to save mankind and Jesus willingly laid down His life to do the Father’s will, so that the man who has been separated from God by sin can again have fellowship with Him and enjoy His love. Therefore the most important thing we have to make is whether we have accepted Jesus as the only Savior and the only God in our lives. Only by accepting Jesus into our hearts will we discover the true meaning of ourselves. But the story doesn’t stop at the moment we receive salvation. Furthermore, we must live according to His way so that we may find His calling for us, that is a special work that God has prepared beforehand.

Second : WE ARE IN THE PLAN OF GOD

In His omniscience, God has known our way of life from beginning to end. He works in everything with perfect calculation and planning. He assigns everyone to be born in a particular era and year, in a particular family, to a particular nation, and gives us the uniqueness that characterizes us. All there is purpose and reason, not random and not coincidental. You and I … are in a part of God’s whole plan for the world. The people of God are called to be specifically involved in His plan according to His timing and in harmony with the uniqueness that He bestowed upon each one of us.

In this regard, Luke wrote in Acts about King David: “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; … (Acts 13:36 NIV)

In the beginning, David was no different from most of the Israelites of the time. He wasn’t a famous person. He was just one of thousands of people. The youngest child who wasn’t too calculated, even by his own parents. David had reason to feel rejected, inferior, or became a rebellious person. But David chose to build a relationship with his Creator. This continued until he became king. He chose to be close to God in his success and in his failure. The result is as written by Luke: David had served God’s purpose in HIS OWN GENERATION. Even David’s life became the standard for kings after him. “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done.” (2 Chronicles 29:2 NIV)  We can find some similar verses in the Bible.

Not only King David, our Bible is full of God’s work through ordinary people God used: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, Elisha, Gideon, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Peter, Paul, and many more. They’re members of the community with various professions and backgrounds. They weren’t perfect people. They had flaws and weaknesses just like us, but they’re willing to be processed by God. They associated with God, found and received God’s call. They wanted to dedicate themselves and committed themselves to living in the call even though they had to let go of their own dreams. The Bible records their lives weren’t in vain, useful to their own generation, and God used them to do great things beyond their existence. I am sure that they are the people who arrive at the end of their lives with satisfaction. Not because they become rich, famous, or powerful, but because their conscience bears witness that they had lived according to the God’s plan. They’re the ones who did the God’s will in their era.

PRIVILEGE OF HEAVEN

How about you and me? Have we lived in His plan? God equips all human beings with various potentials, but what distinguishes us from those outside Christ is that each of those potentials must be used according to God’s will. Not to fulfill our ambition, but to please God. Not for our pride, but for the glory of God. Not in a good way according to our thinking, but must be in accordance with the word of God. The ultimate goal isn’t for ourselves but to bring many people to Christ.

Are the above statements idealistic and theoretical? It could be, but that’s what it should be. I’m sure Christians already know about it, but we have to be honest that it’s not easy to apply it. We must endure the suffering, surrender constantly, humble ourselves, submit ourselves and learn to obey God’s decisions, and abandon the things we love but are disliked by God. For some, it can mean giving up their dreams. The road to go is heavy. Some Christians choose to avoid, some give up and retreat in the middle of the road then turn to follow their own desires. It’s a pity, because they’ve let go of the opportunity to get the priceless pearl of life up ahead.

Nowadays wherever we are on the journey with Christ, don’t get tired to deny ourselves and take up the cross. Let’s be strong to walk to the end while continuing to hold on to God’s promise. God doesn’t leave us alone. He has given the Holy Spirit as a Helper and Comforter. He will guide us to the whole truth (John 16: 13-14) so that every decision we make in this life can be in harmony with God’s decision. The more we obey and diligently walk according to the direction of the Holy Spirit then the potential that has been planted by God from the beginning will emerge and grow. Even God will add new talents along with our increasing responsibilities and in harmony with the extent to which we can be trusted by God.

One day when we look to the years we have passed, we will realize how amazing the God’s works in our lives is. Maybe we aren’t as prosperous as our brothers, don’t have positions as high as our friends, and not as successful as others in the world eyes. But “strangely” our souls and hearts abound with satisfaction and joy. A satisfaction and a joy that can’t be measured by the doses of the world because it doesn’t come from the world. It’s the true satisfaction and joy that comes from the Holy Spirit because we have been living in His calling. How precious … How honorable … In our life that is only a blink of an eye in this perishable world, we – who are actually unworthy – are given the privilege of being fellow workers in the field of God. Ultimately we aren’t “just” being saved Christians, but also bringing others to salvation through every potential of our lives. How special are you and me. That is the true meaning of ourselves and our lives.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV)

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: https://www.wallpapersin4k.org

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THE SECOND CHANCE (guest post)

There are certain circumstances in our lives that the way out can be obtained only through a breakthrough. A divine momentum that will produce a supernatural leap, which is impossible to achieve in ordinary situation. This momentum can be a scarce chance that given by God. But unfortunately sometimes we fail to recognize and take that chance. If we ponder deeper, the failure is mainly because of ourselves. Either because we don’t know, don’t want to do it, fear, worry, hesitate, and so forth. Eventually we lose the momentum that we don’t know when it will come again, or even never come again. That was what the Israelites experienced. They failed to enter the Promised Land at the first opportunity because they rebel against God. As a result, they have to wander in the desert for 40 years.

THE FIRST CHANCE

God brought the Israelites out of Egypt with miraculous signs. After passing through several stops, three months later they arrived at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1) and camped at there for about 13 months. In Sinai God gave the Ten Commandments and various rules about the ordinances of worship and daily life. Then the Lord commanded to count the number of all the men from 20 years old and above who are able to go to war. In fact, God was preparing them to enter Canaan, the Promised Land.

Furthermore, God led them until they arrived at Kadesh Barnea, which is an 11-day journey from Sinai (Deuteronomy 1:2). Then Moses sent 12 men, including Joshua and Caleb, to spy on Canaan. After 40 days the spies returned and reported: “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33) Israelites became angry and rebelled against God by intending to return to Egypt. Only Joshua and Caleb who still believed God could bring them into Canaan. God was angry and decided that the rebellious generation who was 20 years old and above would not enter the Promised Land. As a consequence, they must wander in the desert for 40 years! (Numbers 14:1-38)

“For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this desert; here they will die.” (Numbers 14:34-35)

Because of remorse and fear of God’s punishment, the people finally attacked Canaan. But because of God was not with them, they were easily defeated until they scattered by the enemy (Numbers 14:39-45). That was the failure of the Israelites to enter the Promised Land at the first chance. But God keeps His promise, though to get the SECOND CHANCE they have to wait for 40 years!

THE RESPONSE IN DEALING WITH THE SECOND CHANCE

After 40 years of circling in the desert, the Israelites finally arrived for the second time in Kadesh. They are a generation that was under 20 years old on the first occasion that happened in the past decades. Now, they will enter the Promised Land with their children, while their parents have perished in the wilderness.

It teaches two things to us:

From those who eventually die in the wilderness we learn that THERE ARE DIVINE MOMENTUM WILL NOT COME TWICE IN THIS LIFE. Therefore if God commands something for us to do, let’s immediately obey and believe it even though it seems impossible. Because if we reject it, we may miss it forever.

On the other hand, from this story we affirmed that THE GOD’S GRACIOUS HANDS IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE FOR HIS PEOPLE. The Israelites had failed at the first chance, but God gave them the second chance. This means we always have the reason to hope. “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverb 23:18)

Then, how should we behave when God grants us a second chance? Let’s learn from the preaching of Moses to the generation that will enter Canaan in DEUTERONOMY 9: 1-6.

There are THREE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGES to us:

First: HEALING FROM THE TRAUMA (Verses 1 – 2)

Hear, O Israel. You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. The people are strong and tall—Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “WHO CAN STAND UP AGAINST THE ANAKITES?”

The Anakites are the ones who on the first chance ago have terrified the Israelites. The Israelites also have a history of losing the battle against them. The Anakites are a scourge and a bad memory for Israel, so among them there is a thought: “WHO CAN STAND UP AGAINST THE ANAKITES?” The meaning behind that statement is “No one can stand up against the Anakites.” The fact that the enemies of Israel are the people who  greater and taller than them, with the cities are large with the wall upto the sky, made the Israelites see an impossibility to win. But … to enter the Promised Land, God commanded the Israelites to fight against them. This means they must RESOLVE THE TRAUMA AND DARE TO FACE ALL THE IMPOSSIBILITY IN THE FUTURE.

Trauma can be a hindrance to enjoying the noble things God has provided for us in the future because trauma binds our hearts to the past. Trauma makes it hard to believe that with God we can overcome challenges greater than us. Therefore we must solve it.

If there is past event that when we remember that our hearts become injured again, depressed by excessive regrets, , and always afraid and worry if it happens again. That’s the trauma. There is only one way, come to Jesus who is able to set us free. Forgive if anyone should be forgiven, including forgiving ourselves. Do not let failure be a burden that hinders our steps toward the future, but make it a valuable lesson.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

God does not want us to escape reality. God wants us to be HEALED AND RESTORED. Past mistakes or failures can not be changed, but God is able to change our future. It begins with our decision today to come to Jesus and lay the burdens of our hearts upon Him: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) The time we are free from the trauma, there is nothing that stifles our steps to walk with God and through all our future impossibilities with Him.

Second: GOD IS WITH US (Verse 3)

But be assured today that the Lord your GOD IS THE ONE WHO GOES ACROSS AHEAD OF YOU LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.

The Lord reveals Himself to His people as THE ONE WHO GOES ACROSS AHEAD OF YOU LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE.

GOES ACROSS AHEAD OF HIS PEOPLE: This shows that He is the God who gives direction and leads us to the goal. A guarantee that our journey will surely succeed whatever happens.

“who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.” (Deuteronomy 1:33)

“The LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land.” (Deuteronomy 31:3a)

GOD LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE: It states that He is a jealous God: “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, A JEALOUS GOD.” (deuteronomy 4:24) As a jealous God, He accompanies and protects us as His own. On the other hand, He wants to be the only God in our lives. Therefore don’t turn to other gods. Be faithful and follow His lead, then the Lord will lead us to His triumphal path.

Third: DON’T BOAST YOURSELF (Verse 4 – 6)

After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, DO NOT SAY TO YOURSELF, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS OR YOUR INTEGRITY that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, then, that IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.”

The Israelites won over their enemies not because Israel was great in war, but because of the wickedness of the enemies themselves. Therefore there is a warning from God: “Don’t say to ourselves that all because of our righteousness and our integrity”. Boast ourselves, though only in the heart, is tantamount to arrogant which also means stealing the glory of God. And why does the statement “It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity” is written more than once in this passage? Because human tendency is pride of himself and feel that every achievement because of their effort and hard work. Even we as children of God can also feel all the blessing we receive is because we are living righteously, already diligently serving, praying, fasting, reading the word of God, and doing other righteous things. That isn’t pleasing God’s heart. That’s why from now on if our life is successful, don’t connect that success with all the good and right things we have done, because it can make us become arrogant.

THE WAY TO THE SECOND CHANCE

From the story above we know how to respond when God takes us on the second chance: heals from the trauma, follows God’s lead, and does not boast about having succeeded. Now, what should we do to get a second chance?? Learning from the failed of Israelites at the first chance because of sin and rebellion so they must wander in the wilderness, there are two things we must do:

First: REPENTANCE. Sin is the separator between us and God. As a human, the child of God can still fall into sin. But if we continue to live in sin, we will not be able to do God’s will for us. Therefore let us ask for forgiveness and leave our sins immediately. God’s promise is: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

There is always a restoration in repentance and reconciliation with God. Jacob, Samson, Jonah, Peter, Paul, are some examples of people who had a second chance after their repentance.

Second: HUMBLE. When the Israelites failed at the first chance, God took them around in the wilderness. The goal is to humble them (Deuteronomy 8:2-3). If we want to get a second chance we must believe in God’s leading and follow His ways. All that requires humility, for only humble people are willing to obey and submit to the authority. “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Psalms 25:9)

More than that, every chance comes only from God. We can not force Him. He will give it according to His wisdom and omniscience about our lifetime. But as long as our heart is still beating, let’s hope for the second chance. And if the second chance is no more, at least we have cleared our hearts before God, healed and restored, so that we can freely worship Him and doing our best of every part God entrusts to us in the rest of the time we still have. Let’s learn from Moses’ life about this. Moses had made a fatal mistake for hitting a rock in Meribah in Numbers 20: 2-13 which caused Moses and Aaron not allowed by God to enter Canaan. Moses prayed for grace to be allowed to enter and see Canaan, but God did not grant it. “…But because of you the Lord was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the Lord said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter…” (Deuteronomy 3:23-26) How’s Moses’ reaction?? He was not disappointed with God. He continued to serve the Lord and did his work thoroughly to the end. In Hebrews 3: 1-6 it is said “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,…” May this article strengthen us to do our best in every chance that God gives us, for God will count every one of our deeds. God bless you, amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Image source: www.pixelstalk.net   (Edit with Pixlr app)

God’s Promises Assurance

God's Promises Assurance -Karina's Thought -Sue Nash

 

 

Hello my dear readers, I am so happy and grateful to God could come back again in this New Year. Happy New Year!  We are wishing you a year of health, wealth, happiness, success, warmth, and loads of love of your dear ones. I hope this New Year showers you with full of Joy and blessings. This is my first post in this brand new year.

Has become our familiarity every early year our company held a general meeting. We discussed everything about the company growth in the previous years; we evaluate and make plans and targets to be achieved during a year ahead. In the meeting, there was one interesting thing and it made me ponder. One of our director said, “This New Year will be similar with the previous, we will be in uncertainty situation. We could make the best plans, but still, we don’t even know what will be happen next. Everything could be change in a matter of minutes”

I heard sound of pessimistic and skepticism! Questions arose in my heart. Should not we enter the New Year with a new vigor? Should we move in this New Year with shadowed by uncertainty? Then whether we have losing the joy in our lives in this New Year just because we think that we will face uncertain situation? Then without sounding of preaching and giving a lesson, carefully I am trying to say something, “Yes indeed if we look at the current situation and the conditions in which the world is filled with a variety of problems, it is natural we would be so easy to doubt and pessimist. But on the one hand we should not forget that we have God who always be with us. Because of Him we could calm. As written in Psalm:”

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. (Psalm 62:1 NIV)

My beloved readers, for me personally, this verse is very encouraging and able to give peace. Actually true tranquility comes from God, not from the world circumstances where we are, instead from an abundance of money, status, employment levels and so on, nor from others. The condition may be uncertain or unclear and this time, It may be that there are among of us who in the lowest point of crisis. But by realize that the presence of God will always be with us should be able to keep us calm. Our salvation is in His hands, help on any difficult thing was upon him, guarantee of future day will be provided by God. If we continue on the next verse, an affirmation will feel getting stronger.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:2 NIV)

Then, we will find a similar verse in the verse 6:

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

The world may be full of uncertainties like our director said. Maybe many people predict that this year is not better than the previous year but we have rock and unshakable fortress that could be a place to hold. We can remain calm focus to provide or perform the best if we realize that God is always close to us.

I was remembering story of Micah. Micah is a prophet from the remote village whose ministry is in the range of the reign of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. Situation and condition the world today seems similar as in the time of Micah. Chapter 7 the book of Micah describe the moral depravity and a very difficult situation at the time. Famine, Crop failure (Verse 1), moral degradation, loss of godly and honest people, trepan each other, deceived each other, even destroy each other (Verse 2) Has been so accustomed to do evil,   corrupt officials and judges and accepting bribes, the leader imposes his will, the law perverted (Verse 3) Even the best people in the world likened as useless and stabs thorn hedge, nothing else can be trusted, broken homes, hostility among family members (Verse 4-6) Micah said that all this as a incurable and infectious wound.

“…. Plague is incurable; it has spread to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself” (Micah 1: 9 NIV)

Is not what we are facing today is roughly equal to the situation that Micah faced at that time? But let’s take a look what Micah did at the time?

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me (Micah 7:7 NIV)

What we could learn from the story of Micah? Micah has one big spirit. Yes, spirit of surrender to God. The verse above describe fully surrender to God. Look, after we saw how the moral depravity expressed so obvious in the previous verses, then Micah expressed his attitude was in such conditions: Micah chose to hold on to God with the full of hope. Micah believes God’s inclusion in any circumstances, Micah has full of trust to God’s power that will always save and listen to the prayers of His children

If God is able to save His children in the past, if we have repeatedly seen that God is able to perform miracles through magical ways, if formerly He can, even now God is still able! Because,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)

Walking with God does not mean that we will always be one hundred percent live without problems. Problems will always be there. But Jesus said,

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34 NIV)

This verse comes preceded by a verse which also already known very well:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

Let’s try to combine these two verses. The result is, we will know and understand that even in the hardship that can be comes tomorrow God will still be there. Tomorrow will have worry about itself. Fear that muddying our thoughts today about tomorrow will not change anything. No results could be obtained with fears; instead we will add a new problem. Want to restless or anxious as any, tomorrow will remain come with the trouble itself. But if we truly believe that God is always present and be with us, why we should be worry? Tomorrow will be comes with its own difficulties but do not forget that not only problems and difficulties. God’s word said that,

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV)

All of that would be more than enough to strengthen us through the difficult days and can make us live with joy that is not from the world but from God.

My dear beloved friends, what about us now? Are there any of us who are afraid to face uncertainty in entering this New Year? Whether in undergoing this New Year we are full of fear and doubt? If there are, let’s come closer to God, and get the serenity and strength. Do not let doubt fulfill our mind. Point our thoughts and views focus on God alone. Truly trust in Him! Express our fear and doubt we have in Him.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8 NIV)

Praise Him and give thanks to God because He promised that,

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. (Psalm 46:2-8 NIV)

God has promised something that should be comforting and calming us, something that should not make us has to lose the joy. Therefore we do not need to fear to enter the New Year which is predicted by human logic to be a full with uncertainty or hopeless.

At the beginning of this New Year please allow me to encourage all of you that we do not need to worry because we have a God who is very concerned.  Close to God will always be able to make us calm. His sturdiness will be able to make us not easily shaken.  It is okay World continue to offer the uncertainty, but there is assurance in God. Tomorrow will come with its own problems. But we still must remember that the grace of God, which never end will also present and greet us when we wake up in the morning. We do not need to be afraid to face tomorrow and the next days because I know and I believe that God always be with us and he will goes before us as He promised:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

 God has given so many promises as written in the verses above, so why should we be afraid? Let’s enter the New Year with joy, let’s fill this year with the best thing we can do, and let us give praise and thanksgiving to God who has promised to be with us from the beginning to the end of the year. God’s promises are yes and Amen!  His promises are never failed.

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Joshua 21:45 NIV)

 Let us use this year as a moment to increase our relationship with God, exercise our faith in order to continue to grow better and increase our capacity to receive the outpouring of wine from Heaven. Tribulation may be present tomorrow, but as sunrise that certainly presents every morning, likewise the God’s promise will certainly present in our life. Amen

Karina – Living by faith

Photo by Sue Nash https://heavenlyraindrops.wordpress.com/

Always New Every Morning

ALWASY NEW EVERY MORNING-KARINA'S THOUGHT

After I had a baby, almost every morning I always found new things from my baby.  Sometime ago, in the early morning I was so amazed to see him began open his eyes. Not too wide but it has made ​​me amazed and thrilled.  My husband and I saw it with feelings of gratitude and happiness. My husband said softly, “What another great God’s grace in this morning and there will be another God’s grace and blessing to him which will always be present in all of our morning. And please remember, not merely to our son but to us as well. So, do not ever forget to give thanks to God.”

My beloved friends, in our life we always want to something new. Why do we always read the newspaper every morning, watching news on television or searching through internet? Because we always want to know the latest news and what is become a trending topic today. When we go to the bakery, we always look for the new and fresh bread. We all always love something new. God knows it, and behold that He promised new blessings every morning.

What do we think about when we wake up every morning? Whether we instantly think of our fully work schedule today? Griping and thinking about our unresolved problems? Or we are preoccupied with so many things so we forget to give thanks for the God’s blessings this morning? Would be a pity if we wake up every morning besides thinking about our busyness, we do not think and feel God’s grace and blessings that always new every morning.  every morning? Yes! God’s word said every morning. This means there is grace from God poured out down when we are wanted to start a new day. Look how beautiful we living with God. Once we wake up, there is God’s grace that instantly greets us. He longs to bless us with all the best that comes from Him alone. That is God’s promise. But unfortunately we may not be aware of and missed all of that because we tend to start a new day with the thinking about a stack of problems, our mind full of restlessness, grumbling and so on.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentation 3:21-23)

The writer who wrote this verse really knows where he should direct his focus. He fully realizes that God’s faithfulness was not limited and so great for us. God’s grace is so, is endless, and always new every morning. Not only grace and blessings but God always gives us a new hope so we should not hesitate to put our hope in Him.

As human beings we may have doubts about all the goodness and grace of God promised and provided for us. Let us now examine one part of the Bible to prove what God promised and provided.  Let’s open the book of Psalms chapter 103:

  • God forgives all our sins and heal our diseases (Verse 3)
  • redeems our life from the pitand crowns us with love and compassion (Verse 4)
  • Satisfies your desires with good thingsso that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(Verse 5)
  • The Lord works righteousnessand justice for all the oppressed (Verse 6)
  • He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel (Verse 7)
  • The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (Verse 8)
  • He will not always accuse,nor will he harbor his anger forever (Verse 9)

And there are many more God’s promises in the following verses. If the verses above still less convincing us, let we open one passage the book of Isaiah, it was clearly written which states that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They, or we, would like an eagle flying overcome the storm with a strong pair of wings, will not even easily tired despite facing severe storms.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Romans 8:32 also show how precious we are in His eyes. How great His love to us. How great God’s yearning to always provide the best to us.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

My beloved friends, what about our morning today? How we treat our beautiful morning? If we woke up then our mind has been filled with every kind of life problems? Filled with disquiet because there are so many unsolved tasks? Or we spend time a while just sitting on the bed and be grateful through prayer for the opportunity sipping the fresh morning air, give thanks to the breath of life that God has given to us, enjoying the warmth of the morning sun, be grateful we still have a chance to listening a beautiful songbird and said to God, “Dear Lord in heaven, thank you for this beautiful morning. Thank you for the opportunity to live and feel how beautiful and great is Your love”?

Right now, allow me to encourage you to always make sure ourselves to remember all of this every morning, and give thanks to all God’s goodness when we woke up. Keep reminding our soul and mind to realize how good God is, never forget the grace which He lavished on us, never forget a new grace that He bestowed to us as a tremendous grace to us. Keep Preserve so that we will be able to continue to grow with an increasingly strong faith. It is good to know what God’s blessings are, but please do not just to know, Let’s continue to give thanks every day and make sure we feel His goodness, and pay attention it all in order to be real and alive in us. By taking a few moments to give thanks, will make us more aware that God is always present in our lives with the grace which is always new every morning and His compassions never fail even in the midst of difficulties we face there is always grace and hope because He is ruling above of all forever and ever. Amen.

With those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:18-19)

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

 

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
there is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not
as thou hast been thou forever will be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
all I have needed Thy hand hath provided
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside

Thomas O. Chisholm – William M. Runyan

Karina – Living by faith

Great Is Thy Faithfulness sung by Woman of Faith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-HszBrTGfA

Photo credit: debbieburtonnaturopath.squarespace.com

 

The Fragrance of Grace

Fragrance of grace

We are your children, Lord,
Saved by your precious grace
And walking in your victory,
Living by hope and faith

We come before your holy throne
And worship at your feet,
Our souls renewed with new hope,
Our spirits now set free

We yearn to know you more, O God,
More than we do right now
And we long for your presence, Lord,
As before your throne, we bow

May we be as fragrant offerings,
An incense of the Lord
That you may take pleasure in us,
A vessel you have called

So you may fill to overflow
With your Holy Spirit of truth,
So we can take your gospel, Lord,
To those who don’t know you

And be to them as Jesus was,
To love them all despite
Wherever they have come from, Lord,
For you can change their lives

So they can come before you
And worship you with praise,
To come into your presence, Lord,
And receive your saving grace.

 By M.S.Lowndes

Photo courtesy: Carol Welsh http://radiatingblossom.wordpress.com

 

 

Through The Storms

Storms

I did not know His love before, the way I know it now. I could not see my need for Him, my pride would not allow. I had it all, without a care, the “Self-sufficient” lie.My path was smooth, my sea was still, and not a cloud was in my sky.

I thought I knew His love for me, I thought I’d seen His grace, I thought I did not need to grow, I thought I’d found my place. But then the way grew rough and dark, the storm clouds quickly rolled; the waves began to rock my ship, my anchor would not hold.

The ship that I had built myself was made of foolish pride. It fell apart and left me bare, with nowhere else to hide. I had no strength or faith to face the trials that lay ahead, and so I simply prayed to Him and bowed my weary head.

His loving arms enveloped me, and then He helped me stand. He said, “You still must face this storm, but I will hold your hand.” So through the dark and lonely night He guided me through pain. I could not see the light of day or when the storm might wane.

Yet through the aches and endless tears, my faith began to grow. I could not see it at the time, but my light began to glow. I saw God’s love in brand new light, His grace and mercy, too. For only when all self was gone could Jesus’ love shine through.

It was not easy in the storm, I sometimes wondered, “Why?”At times I thought, “I can’t go on.” I’d hurt, and doubt, and cry. But Jesus never left my side, He guided me each day. Through pain and strife, through fire and flood, He helped me all the way.

And now I see as never before how great His love can be. How in my weakness He is strong, how Jesus cares for me! He worked it all out for my good, although the way was rough. He only sent what I could bear, and then He cried, “Enough!”

He raised His hand and said, “Be still!” He made the storm clouds cease. He opened up the gates of joy and flooded me with peace. I saw His face now clearer still, I felt His presence strong, I found anew His faithfulness, He never did me wrong.

Now I know more storms will come, but only for my good, For pain and tears have helped me grow as naught else ever could. I still have so much more to learn as Jesus works in me; if in the storm I’ll love Him more, that’s where I want to be!

Unknown

Photo credit: elephantir.blogspot.com