Tag Archive | happiness

Rejoice Within Suffering

 

Few days ago I met one of my best friends, Audrey, who just lost her beloved father. She said that now she felt lonely because before her father passing away, every morning before she go to the office, at the dining table she always talks about many things with him.  Now there’s one empty seat at her dining room and it makes her realized that she couldn’t longer share many things to her father. But there is something made me amazed from her. She said, “Yes I am very sad because I had to lose my beloved father, I am so sad because had to lose a great role model in my life. But in the other side, I am grateful because I don’t lose my joy. In the midst of grief I still have joy. Because why? I am grateful my father passed away in the state of keeping his faith faithfully, I am grateful there’s no unresolved sin before God, I am grateful that God gave him long lasting life with good health, though I feel too fast to go, I really know and understand God’s time is not our time. And the most important thing is, I rejoice because I really know where is my father go. He now will become a member of Kingdom of Heaven with God.” 

My beloved friends, this post inspired by Audrey’s story. This’s about rejoicing. Do we’ve rejoiced today? Maybe we’ll easily answer “Yes we are!” if our living conditions are safe; running well and there’s no problem at all. But do we still easily say we’re rejoicing when we’re in difficult situation Like Audrey for example. Do we still have joy though we’re under the pressure of hard problems? Generally, people associate joy/ rejoice with a feeling in a condition where there’s no suffering and problem. It means the joy for the majority of people comes and depends on their conditions that are being experienced. Many people also think that it’s impossible keep rejoicing in the midst of suffering. After I heard Audrey’s story my mind drifted away to one of the great figure in the Bible, Paul. For me, Paul is always can be a good example of rejoicing within suffering.

After repented through encountering with Christ, Paul then devoted himself fully to serving God. After having a new life, Paul’s life doesn’t automatically become easier. In his ministry, he met with the severe situations, suffered many tortures, had physical injuries, had mental pressure, and prisoned waiting for the capital punishment. But the amazing thing was all of his suffering didn’t stop him to serve God. Was Paul angry and disappointed to God? Did he grumbling and complain to God why after repenting and serving God he instead had a lot of suffering? No! Not at all! Paul didn’t do it all. What he did while in jail?  He praising God, he even wrote many letters to his congregation and his ministry friends and the messages that wrote become an essential foundation for every believer’s life today. The other amazing thing from Paul was that none of his letters contained grunts, disappointment, and sadness. Faithfully he greatly encourages people to remain steadfast and not stop rejoicing. For example, to the Philippians he had many messages to keep rejoicing and he repeatedly said that his miserable condition will not made him stop to rejoicing.

Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.  For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you (Philippians.2:17-18, 3:1)

And in his final exhortation to the Philippians,

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

My dear friend, when I wrote this post, I stopped for a moment to ponder and imagine Paul’s figure and had questions. How Paul can be like that? How can a man who has served God for a long time still be able to encourage others to remain rejoicing while he had hard suffering in the prison and awaits the coming of capital punishment? Then I read again the series of Paul’s letters and finally I could make a conclusion that Paul directed his heart and mind wasn’t like the worldly people. He didn’t focus to get wealth, fluency, preferential treatment, prestige, or popularity that he might get it all easily before repented. I noted some of Paul’s letters content.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

(Philippians 3:10-11)

 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3: 13-14)

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3: 20-21)

From the verses above, we can know and learn what was become Paul’s focus in his life.  He focused to be like Christ, he always looked forward continuing to run for the purpose of obtaining a heavenly call from God in Christ Jesus. Though his worldly life was full of suffering and had capital punishment, he didn’t focus on his suffering. He more focus on the salvation that has been obtained through Jesus Christ and he had great opportunity to serve the Lord. I strongly believe this is reasons why he always rejoices within his suffering. Paul put his focus on the right position.

My beloved readers, I really don’t know how’s your condition right now. I’m so glad and be grateful if your life safe and everything is running very well. But maybe there’s among us who in the difficult time in life or currently facing very hard problems and it becomes a reason couldn’t be rejoicing. Right now, please allow me to telling this:  Actually joy isn’t come from what our condition is. Joy isn’t depends on how good or bad our life and also not depends on others. It’s really possible rejoicing within suffering. How come?  how can we keep rejoice in the hard time like Paul did? Let’s take a look to the following verses:

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11

From two verses above we can conclude that there’s always joy and we will always be able to rejoice as long we live in His love and keep His command. This is the way that we can still rejoice even though our lives are full of suffering. Let’s take a look another verse,

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy (Psalms 5:11)

This verse above is another proof that when we take refuge in God we will be rejoice and everyone who love God will filled with joy.  The key point is “In the Lord” That’s all! So my dear friends, actually as true believers there’s no reason at all we couldn’t rejoice every day because we live and must be always live in God. Rejoice isn’t in and depending on our life condition or circumstances. True joy is always come from God and He’s the source of joy. Then what should we do in order to rejoice within suffering?  All we need to do is like Paul did. Put our focus on the right place. Not focus on the problems and suffering but focus on God who has given us salvation.  Like a rose and thorns. Don’t focus on the thorns but let’s focus on the rose. It would be better we think and be grateful God put rose on the thorns than we think and grumble God put thorns on the rose*). What does it mean? It’s all about our focus. If we always put our focus on the “thorn” we will grumble and will be difficult to have joy and rejoicing. But if we always put our focus on the “rose “then we will have joy and will always be able to rejoice. Don’t focus one the problems and difficulties because it will hinder us to have joy. Let’s focus on God because there is always joy in the Lord.  Moreover, we’ve to remember that joy/rejoice in the Lord is our strength. With rejoicing in the Lord then there will be strength to overcome our problems and difficulties.

Nehemiah said, “… Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

My dear friends, I really now it’s no easy to keep rejoice within suffering. But please remember, we have God who is so good. Let’s stop focusing on the problems and suffering, change it with focus on God. Remember, ponder, be thankful, and rejoice for His existence, His loving kindness, assurance of His eternal salvation, His words, and for what He has done for us. If until now we can still live this life, it’s not because of our strength and ability but God give us strength and enable us to face and overcome all problems and suffering.  Keep maintain our relationship and fellowship with God. Let the Holy Spirit always dwell in our heart and let the true joy always shine on from our lives because joy is the part of fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) Amen.

Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Psalms 32:11)

Karina – Living by faith

*) Quote from Dwight L Moody

Image source: Renfrew Christian Fellowship

A Cup of Tea for God

A CUP OF TEA FOR GOD - Karina's Thought

 

My father once said that one of the happiest things is when his little daughter ran to greet him when he came home after work. Still strongly remembered in my mind when I was 6, every day I ran excitedly with happily shouting, “Daddy…!” to my father. With cheerful face he opened his arms to hug me tightly, kissed me and I kissed him back. After that, with my Mom’s help, usually I made him a cup of hot tea and then I sat beside him. I also still remember, within his tiredness, my dad’s face radiated a tremendous happiness. At that time, I was excited because I could make him happy and wipe his tiredness after work all day long.
As a child, make our mom and dad pleased and happy is become our responsibility. Well, How about God our Father in Heaven? Whether we always make Him pleased and happy too? If I always make a cup of tea as a way to make him happy, what we can do so can make God pleased? We cannot run to greet God, and then God will hug and kiss us like my daddy did to me. We even cannot make a cup of tea for God. We are not physically near with God. So what we can do? Here, as an example, I chose one of the great Bible figures that said as a righteous man, blameless among the people and walked with God. He is Noah! Noah’s life is always pleasing God and we can learn from him how to make God pleased. At least there are five things that we could get from Noah so that we can please God.
Love God above of all
Noah always loves God more than anything even when there is nobody loves God. Love God means to have a very close relationship with Him.

 

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. (Genesis 6:9)

Through this verse, we knew that Noah has a very close relationship with God. This is also what God wants from us. God longs we have very close relationship with Him, love Him wholeheartedly, and what He desired is our mercy. Hosea 6:6 said:

 

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

In this verse we know that our mercy can make God pleased. Give big offerings to the church or those people in need doesn’t mean we automatically have been pleases God. God also would be pleased if we have unstoppable yearning to be closer to Him and to know of his personal more deeply. Still strong, not easily waver because of the worldly temptations. In the New Testament, Jesus said:

 

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)

What about us now? How deep is our love to God? Do we have very close relationship with God? Whether we have been doing the Lord’s command as written in the verse above?
Fully trust to God
Noah fully trust what God told him when He warned about something that has not happened and unseen and when God commanded him to do unreasonable thing. Actually, there are three things that can make Noah did not believe what had God said to him. First, He never sees the rain and before the floodwaters God irrigate the earth from the land. Second, Noah lived far from the sea. How could he bring the ark into the sea? Third, put together the whole animals are not an easy job. But what Noah does? He does not complain and prefer trust to God and have faith that he knows what the best is. God pleased that Noah totally trusts Him. In everyday lives, how deep we trust in God? Do we still trust in God when our lives so hard and there are so many difficult things should to overcome? Do we still firmly trust to God when we should to do unreasonable things? Like Noah, indeed God will be very pleased if in any circumstances we still faithfully trust Him. We should to remain trust that whatever God commanded is the best for us.
Fully obey to God
At the time, when God commanded Noah to make an ark, God does not say, “Noah, Make it a regular boat as whatever you want” But God gave the details of the ark that should to be made. (Genesis 6:14 -16) Then, what Noah did? Beside he fully trust to God, Noah is fully obey to God’s command. He did every single detail as prescribed by God precisely.

 

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. (Genesis 6:22)

What about us? What if God commanded us to do something according His will? Do we will obey to doing everything what God wants? Or we would have many questions, raise an objection or we even unwilling to do it all? God will pleased if we remain obey to do all of His word. God will be very pleased if we live our lives with obedience. Have we?
Praising the Lord and be grateful
Praising the Lord is one form of way to pleasing God. God will be pleased if we have lifestyle that is always praise and worship Him in the midst of our happiness and even sadness, and we do it with wholeheartedly. The first act of Noah after survived from the floodwaters is expressing his thankfulness to God by offering burnt sacrifices.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:20)

We must know and understand, God is very pleased and love His children if we always Glorify, Praise and be grateful for what God has given to us. This means that God’s will be happy and pleased when we appreciate everything that God has done for us. Are we ready to have lifestyle that always praise and worship Him whatever our situation and condition? Can we always be grateful not only in our happiness but even in affliction?

Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.(Psalm 147:7)

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

Using our ability

When God gave the command to Noah to make an ark, Noah did it by using all his ability. And Noah believes that God will enable him to make an ark according to God’s command. After the flood, God gave Noah another command:

“Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything” (Genesis 9:1-3)

This is the time of Noah to use his ability to continue life. Doing the things that has become God’s plan and provision for mankind. Have a children and offspring, found a family, farming and breeding. So it is with us now, God also wants us to use the abilities that God has given us to do the God’s will and to please Him. There is no reason for us to not be able to do God’s will, because we are not going to bring the glory of God and we are not going to be a blessing if we shame and do not use our ability for the God’s glory. God gives us different abilities beside used for our benefit, God also wants through our abilities always please Him.

My dear readers, I will end this post by asking you to ponder these five things: If we have longing to loves God more than anything and make Him as a top priority? Have we truly lean on and completely trust to God? How deep is our obedience to do all His commands? If we already have a lifestyle that is always be grateful and praise God in all circumstances? How we use our ability, if only for worldly pleasure or all we do is just for pleases and glory of God alone? Physically, we cannot make a cup of tea for God, could not run greet, hug and kiss Him. But spiritually we can come to God, living in His providence, feel His warm loving kindness and blessings. And we can make “A cup” of mercy for God filled with full of love, trust, obedience, praise and gratefulness. We make it with full of our ability to pleases God. Are we willing to? Amen.

Further reading: https://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/what-does-it-mean-to-thine-own-self-be-true/

Thank you very much to Sister Anne for your further article.

Karina – Living by Faith
Image source: Google Images

O Christ

O Christ 2

O Christ, in Thee my soul hath found,
And found in Thee alone,
The peace, the joy I sought so long,
The bliss till now unknown.

I sighed for rest and happiness,
I yearned for them, not Thee;
But while I passed my Savior by,
His love laid hold on me.

Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me;
There’s love, and life, and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee.

Unknown.

Photo credit: wallsfeed.com

Lily of The Valley

lily-of-the-valley1.gifYesterday afternoon my fiancé was looked at my post about “Forget me Not” flower and then He said to me: “Honey, why you not talks about The Lily? Is not the lily is your favorite flower?” Ah…!! Lily…!! Yes, that is my favorite flower. It flower was always be there around me. No matter where. I put a bunch of lily in my work room, in my bedroom even in my bathroom. Oh my Gosh…! I really fall in love with this flower.

“And do you still remember what the meaning of the lily of The Valley?” asked my Fiancé again.

“Yes…! Of course. I still remember it and always remember. This flower has a deeply meaning. Especially for us as a Christian “I replied.

Generally, The Lily of the valley is a symbol of Humility, sweetness, and renewed happiness. In reference to the brightest hopeful season of spring, in which it blossoms, it has been regarded as symbolical of the return of happiness, whilst its delicate perfume has long been indicative of sweetness.

I was remembered about a devotional from fiveminutesdailydevotion.com last month.  This Christian site talks about Lily of the valley.

In Christianity, Lily of the valley is a type of God and Jesus Christ. The Bible mentioned Lily of the Valley 15 times, most often in the Song of Solomon. Since the flower blooms so early in springtime, it represents the Second Coming of Christ.

“He’s the Lily of the Valley, the bright and morning Star; He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.” (Song of Solomon 2:1-2)

 It also symbolizes Eve’s tears shed after she was extradited from the Garden of Eden, Jacob’s tears for his weeping over Rachel and Joseph, and the Virgin Mary’s tears, or our lady’s tears, for the tears shed by Mary at the cross of Christ, tears believed to have turned into the flower.

Lily of the Valley is a symbol of purity. Lily is white and white is a picture of purity (Revelation 3:4), Lily also representation of a beautiful picture of the greatness humility of the Son of god. (Philippians 2: 6-8).

A lily is a sweet and a flagrant flower with a strong scent. Jesus has sweetness in His ministry especially when He gave “himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour” (Ephesians 5:2)

This Lily of the Valley is a description of a wild plant that would grow up in and among the food crops of the Israelites. It’s presence in the field was unmistakable, because it produced flowers of bright and beautiful colors. These are the same plants to which Jesus referred when He asked His disciples to “Consider the lilies of the field.” The people were worrying about material things like food and clothing, and Jesus explained that, just as the Father clothed the flowers in beautiful array, so would He take care of the daily needs of His children. King Solomon had to work to put on his glorious robes, but the lilies had only to trust the heavenly Father for theirs.

Jesus Christ is our Lily of The Valley. He fulfills our heart and soul with His love and Joy. In Hosea 14: 5 -7 God Has a promise or us;

I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.

 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.

They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.

Well my dear friends, if Lily of the valley already embedded very well in our hearts? Does the sweetness of His love fill our heart with joy? If it is, we have to keep and care Him with wholehearted as He was watches over us and gave a tremendous joy in our hearts.

The Lord watches over you, The Lord is your shade at your right hand (Psalm 121:5)

Dear God in Heaven, Wonderful, merciful Savior, how I thank you for loving me and meeting all I needs. In you I feel complete. Amen.

 Karina

Photo credit: bakingproject.com

The Fern and The Bamboo

BambooNFernsOne day I decided to quit…I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality.

I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

“God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”

His answer surprised me.

“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes”, I replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

“In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. The same in year four.

“Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant.

But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.

It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.

“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo.. I will never quit on you.

“Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.

“Your time will come”, God said to me. “You will rise high”

“How high should I rise?” I asked.

“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.

“As high as it can?” I questioned

“Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me. And He will never give up on you.

Never regret a day in your life.

Good days give you happiness; bad days give you experiences;

Both of them are essential to life.

http://www.turnbacktogod.com

Photo credit : thedirty30sclub.com


 

When God says ” No ! “

 

when God says No

I asked God to take away my pride.
And God said “No”.
He said it was not for him to take away,
but for me to give it up

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
And God said “No”.
He said her spirit was whole,
her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
And God said “No”.
He said patience is a by-product of tribulations.
It isn’t granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
And God said “No”.
He said he gives me blessings,
happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain.
And God said “No”.
He said suffering draws you apart from worldly
cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
And God said “No”.
He said I must grow on my own.
But he will prune me to make me fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.

And God said “No”.
He said I will give you life,
that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others,
as much as he loves me.
And God said, “Ah, finally you have the idea”.

Photo credit : inconvenenientwalk.blogspot.com

Giving,not Getting

Health insurance or love concept

During the last 2 months, beside I am busy at work I also got busy make a plan and preparing my wedding. I know and understand clearly that marriage is not a simple thing and messing around. I also know that the most important thing in a marriage is not how great we prepare for the wedding. Marriage is not just about luxury wedding party, beautiful and expensive wedding gown, orwherewe were goingto take honeymoon.

The Most important thing in marriage is our self. How mentally strong we decided to get married, how well our personalities in running a marriage, howmuchweknow our spoueses,how far our readiness in dealing with marriage problems. Marriage is to unite two different human characters. Man and woman. Where both have different advantages and disadvantages.

Few days ago I found a good short article that discusses everything about marriage. I and my fiancé learn so much from this article. We found and realized one critical aspect in a marriage life. What is this?  An Egoistic thought. This is a critical point that mostly causes problems in marriage. We expect much from our spouses and when we couldn’t find what we think we should get, we start to complain and lose interest on our marriage.  We define happiness by having or possessing. But, happiness is the result of giving not getting.

Gary Thomas in his book Devotion for a Sacred Marriage, said ” There is not happiness in having or in getting,but only in giving”And then Gary Thomas added ” And half the world is on the wrong scent in the pursuit of happiness. They think it consists in having and getting,and in being served by others. It consists in giving and serving others “

In a marriage life, there is no happiness when we always trying to get and possess what we think and what makes we happy.This is an important point that should be instilled in each of us. We usually expect that we have to do this and that for us. We will never be happy this way. We can’t have a good and lasting marriage either. We are searching happiness in a place where we won’t find it ever.

Eventually, I learned something very valuable. Everything is return to God. We all know God is Love. We made by His own image and because of it we should have character from Him. If God is love, we are created to love others not only to be loved only. Marriage goes same way. It is not about what you get, it is about what you give. You made a commitment at the beginning, to love and take care of your spouse, for better or for worse. This is entirely giving. And that is what the foundation of marriage lies; giving, providing, loving and caring.

Reduceoreven eliminateour egoistic thought. Let’s start to think “how muchwe can giveto our spouses” not “how muchwe can getandexpectfromourspouses” Once again, Happiness not comes from getting but giving.

Cited by Karina Susanto

Original from Youth in Part Magazine  in article “What marriage is primarily about”

http://www.youthinpart.com

Photo credit : www.johnhaydon.com