Tag Archive | heart

NO DECEIT (guest post)

Since ancient times “what appears before the eyes of men” has become a measure. Look at how a great prophet like Samuel mistakenly recognized Eliab as the anointed of God only because of his appearance or his height (1 Sam 16: 6-7). We also use this perspective often when interacting with other people, right ?! For example, sometimes we quickly conclude someone is mature and wise just because he doesn’t talk much. Even though the reality is not necessarily so. In Proverbs 17: 27-28 it is written: “He who has knowledge spares his words, [And] a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; [When] he shuts his lips, [he is considered] perceptive.” (Proverbs 17:27-28 NKJV) This shows us how easy it is to judge someone’s personality only from the outside.

Conscious or not, often our judgments and attitudes toward others are influenced by what we see and what we hear. Indirectly this makes ourselves to be a person who is more concerned with “what appears outside” like our appearance and the way we speak in order to get the “image” that we want in the eyes of others. We become a person who cares deeply about what other people say. We feel “okay” when people say we are great, cool, kind, humble, and various other compliments. On the contrary, we feel bad or even feel rejected when people say our performance isn’t as good as usual, considered boring, not smart, our opinions are not accepted, and so on. The judgment of others becomes very important to us as if it contributes to our self-worth.

Without realizing it, we carry such a mindset when worshiping and while serving God, whether to get a positive assessment from others or even to obtain God’s “favor”! We diligently come to church and serve so that others see us as godly people. We sing, close our eyes, and raise our hands in worship, but actually our minds are wandering everywhere. The prayers we offer are just strands of beautiful sentences that we speak eloquently but without faith. Our services to God is only the talent that is presented well without any life offered on the altar. Even worse, we wrap our speech with “spiritual languages” while in church, even though we often emit our emotions with inappropriate words in the work environment. We are kind and friendly to all economic strata while in church, but we often discriminate people in our daily activities. Not the kind of worship that is desired by God. What God longs for is we come to Him with sincerity, without falsity!

We will learn about this from Jesus’ conversation with Nathanael. According to tradition, Nathanael and Bartholomew were considered to be the same person, namely one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. The opinion developed since the ninth century may be based on writing a list of the names of 12 disciples in the three Synoptic Gospels (Mt 10: 1–4; Mk 3: 13-19; Lk 6: 12–16) who always juxtaposed Bartholomew’s name with Philip, while Nathanael was a friend of Philip. The story of Nathanael began when Jesus went to Galileam, where He met Philip, whom He called to follow him. Philip rejoiced that he had found Jesus and immediately invited his friend, Nathanael, to meet Jesus. Then there was a very interesting conversation between Jesus and Nathanael in John 1: 45–51.

GOD LOOKS AT THE HEART

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.

(John 1:45-48 NIV)

Regardless of the estimate of who Nathanael really is, what is interesting is Jesus’ statement when he saw him: “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” (John 1:47 NIV)

There was a quality within Nathanael that Jesus likes: there is no deceit. No deceit means no guile nor duplicity. This means that everything in Nathanael’s self – his actions, his heart and mind – all are sincere, not acting, and without falsity. What appears on the surface is a reflection of what is in him, without pretense. As what appears in people’s eyes, that’s how he is. Not made up, not hypocritical. Nathanael’s sincerity was the opposite of the condition of the Israelites of that day, especially the scribes and Pharisees, who were only concerned with outward things. On different occasions Jesus criticized them: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28 NIV)  In the midst of such Israeli conditions, it is not surprising that Jesus called Nathanael as truly Israelite.

No matter how good one’s performance in the human eye, one’s value is not determined by what appears outside because God’s eyes penetrate far to the bottom of the heart: “…..The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7 NIV)  God knows every thought and motivation that we don’t even realize. God wants whatever we do, more than just because we care what people say. God wants us to do our best not because we just carry out our obligations, even more than just professionalism. Let us not do something just because of politeness, especially if there is a hidden purpose.

Proverbs 23: 7 is a real example of insincerity: For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]. He says to you, “Eat and drink,” Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost]. (AMP version) This verse also serves as a reminder for us to be careful of kindness and hospitality accompanied by hidden intentions, as well as a warning to ourselves so that we do everything with a pure heart. God wants us to live without falsehood and not hypocrisy. A life that is in harmony between heart, mind, words, deeds. A piety without pretense. Life isn’t just good on “packaging”, but really beautiful and fragrant. This quality isn’t produced overnight, but is the result of spiritual discipline and consistency to continually decide life with a sincere and pure heart before God.

EASY TO BELIEVE IN GOD

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

(John 1:48-49 NIV)

Nathanael was surprised how Jesus could know him even though they had never met before. Shortly after hearing Jesus’ answer “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you”, Nathanael gave a spontaneous statement that showing his belief in who Jesus is: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” (John 1:49).  Look, how easy for Nathanael to trust Jesus, even though Nathanael had made a skeptical statement when Philip told him about Jesus of Nazareth. “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46 NIV).

Nathanael is an example of how people who are with no deceit will easily to believe in God because his heart is sincere and pure before God. Why is it sometimes difficult for us to believe in God? One of the causes is because we are not truly sincere and pure towards God. Unconsciously we still have a hidden agenda and veiled motivation for God. We don’t come to God with ” as we really are “. Often it is hidden deep in the heart, but God who sees the heart knows everything. Therefore, allow God to investigate and justify our hearts, straighten out and show our mistakes, so that there is no obstacle between us and God. Let the psalmist’s prayer before this omniscient Lord also be our prayer: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24 NIV)

SEE GREATER THINGS THAN BEFORE

Jesus said, “You believe[h] because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.”

He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

(John 1:50-51 NIV)

Living with no deceit will make us uncomplicated in trusting God and easier to follow God’s guidance because we believe in Him. Walking in God’s guidance will lead us to greater things, as Jesus promised to Nathanael: “You will see greater things than that”. Larger things aren’t just about miracles, God’s help, blessings, promotions, and things like that. Much bigger than all of that is the knowledge of God. Jesus said to Nathanael: “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.” This is similar to Jacob’s dream at Bethel in Gen. 28:12, but this time with a special revelation regarding the Son of Man. Previously Nathanael acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God but Jesus stated that He is the Son of Man, as prophesied in Daniel 7:1-14. This equipped Nathanael’s understanding of Jesus. When we read the rest of the story, Nathanael was one of those who saw Jesus when He appeared on the shore of the lake of Tiberias after His resurrection in John 21:2.

It is a gift to be allowed to know God personally, because in fact we will not be able to know God if He doesn’t reveal Himself to us. If at this time we can trust and know God, it is because the Holy Spirit has placed the seeds of faith in our hearts. This is Paul’s statement that understands how valuable the knowledge of God is:

But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life]. But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ (Phillipians 3:7-8 AMP)

Believing and knowing Christ is the most valuable thing in life. Without Christ we will be lost, aimless, and unsaved. Therefore let us faithfully follow Christ. Let’s keep living in sincerity and true piety with no deceit, so that we become people who are easily formed by God and obey Him. By continuing to believe and live in His guidance we will increasingly know Him and experience greater things with Him in all areas of our lives. Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images (Edit with: pixlr app)

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THE NEW SEASON 3 “THE DANGEROUS SAFE ZONE” (guest post)

Life is a journey through season after season. Every season is the unpredictable season (click here) because we don’t know what will happen, whether it is happiness or the hard season (click here). All must be addressed wisely because what we do in this season will affect our situation the following season. That’s what experienced by Asa. Asa was the third king of Judah after Israel was divided into two regions, namely Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom). This great-grandson of King Solomon was listed as one of the godly kings in the history of Judah: “…Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life.” (2 Chronicles 15:17 NIV),  and “Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done.” (1 Kings 15:11 NIV). The story of Asa is written in 1 Kings 15:9-24 dan 2 Chronicles 14:1 – 16:14. There are many lessons that we can learn from Asa’s attitude through the seasons of his life.

 

ASA’S LIFE SEASONS

First Season: The New True Dawn

Asa began 41 years of his reign by conducting spiritual renewal in Judah which at that time had fallen into idolatry. He removed the foreign altars and smashed the idols, and ordered his people to return to worship the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey His laws and commands. This first step was seen as good and right by God: “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” (2 Chronicles 14:2 NIV) For his sincerity, God bless Judah with security. In that peace time Asa built fortified cities in Judah: “He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.” (2 Chronicles 14:6 NIV)

A position – at any level – is the responsibility entrusted by God to His children to achieve His goal which is to bring people to Christ. The right first step is one of the determinants to achieve it. But that right first step must be followed up consistently in all situations.

Second Season: War and Victory

After a safe period of several years, Judah was attacked by Zerah with an army of a million men and 300 chariots. It was a force that was almost impossible to conquer because at that time Asa had only an army of 300 thousand Judeans with shields and spears and 280 thousand Benjaminites who were shield bearers and archers. In that critical state Asa called on the Lord: “….Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army….” (2 Chronicles 14:11 NIV) God answered his prayer by giving glorious victories and abundant spoils of war.

The victory of God’s children in the face of the darkness of life isn’t determined by what and how much they have, but depends on how far they want to rely on God, because only God is able to paint a rainbow behind a dark cloud. As long as we rely on God, we will not only win over problems but also get the opportunity to level up more than we are able to reach with our own strength.

Third Season: Strengthening Commitment to God

God saw Asa’s heart and sent a prophet, Azariah the son of Oded, with the message that Asa must be remain firm to cleanse Judah from idolatry and bring Judah back to God, because there was a reward God would give for his effort: “But as for you, be strong and don’t give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV)  Asa responded by carrying out a total spiritual reformation as a continuation of what he had done at the beginning of his reign. He removed the repulsive idols and restored the altar which was in front of the temple of the Lord. Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them to strengthen their commitment to God by entering into a covenant to seek the Lord with all their heart and soul.

We must respond to each of God’s blessings and help with a commitment to life increasingly pleasing to God. Get rid of all forms of idolatry in our lives. Maybe we don’t worship idols literally, but there could be other things that we love and pursue more than God. For that we must learn to say “no” to ourselves when our hearts want things that deviate from God’s will.

Fourth Season: War, again!

One time Baesa, king of Israel, fought Asa by blocking Rama, which was near the border of Israel and Judah. This action might have been triggered by the many people of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who crossed to side with Asa (see 2 Chr. 15: 9). But Asa didn’t rely on God like when he faced Zerah but he asked for help from Benhadad, king of Aram. Aram, also called Syria, was the enemy that David had conquered (see 2 Sam 8: 5). Asa sent tribute in the form of gold and silver from his palace and from the treasury of the house of God, so that Benhadad was willing to cancel his peace agreement with Baesa. Benhadad agreed to Asa’s request and ordered his troops to attack Israeli cities. This tactic succeeded in making Baesa stop blocking Rama (see 1 King 15: 20-21) but there are consequences that Asa must bear because of his attitude that doesn’t rely on God. Through Hanani, a seer, God rebuked Asa: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and haven’t relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand…… In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.” (2 Chronicles 16:7-9 NKJV) Asa became angry when heard the word and then he imprisoned Hanani!

A few years before his death, Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. but in his illness he didn’t seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians. Asa didn’t apostasy and didn’t leave God. In 2 Chr 15:17 it is written that Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life, but the Bible also tells us that Asa’s spirituality in the last years of his life wasn’t as good as when he began his position as king.

This season teaches us the importance of always relying on God in every situation, no matter whether the problem is heavy or light. Indeed, human tendency is difficult to fully rely on God if they can still do something with their own strength. Humans tend to seek human help whose response can be immediately known and heard, rather than waiting for God’s help that doesn’t know when it comes and often the way isn’t as expected. Then, can God’s child succeed in his own way? Yes, but there are consequences that must be borne. Not because God is evil, but because of our own mistakes. Like Asa, he succeeded in defeating Baesa through the hands of the king of Syria but he had to “pay” it by losing the opportunity to conquer Syria and since then he had to experience war.

Every problem is a test and our response will determine the end result. The wrong response and action to a problem not only makes us lose the blessings we should receive, but also opens up opportunities for new problems that are often bigger than the previous problems. Following God cannot be half-hearted. The choices are only “yes” or “no” because we cannot serve two masters. When we aren’t wholeheartedly dependent on God, in fact at the same time we are dependent on others, whether it’s property, other people, or ourselves.

 

Message from The Seasons of Asa’s Life: DON’T BE LULLED IN A SAFE ZONE

“Sometimes the most dangerous place isn’t on the battlefield but in a safe zone.

Being lulled into a safe zone makes us no longer vigilant and forgets to guard the heart.

Gradually and without realizing it, we will feel that we no longer need God, no longer seek God, and no longer rely on Him.

Until at some point we will find that our hearts have changed and moved away from God. “

In this modern era, Asa can be described as a person who is diligent in worshiping, active in service and active in various church activities, and enthusiasm in preaching the gospel. A person who has a desire to bring others to Christ, and a leader who is in a strategic position to make changes. Imagine a person who is fiery for God like this and then turns into a person who is hesitate, even having the heart to imprison a servant of God because of heartache hearing the word said by the servant of God (2Ch 16:10). What made Asa change? Since when did the spirit begin to degenerate? If we read the whole story, it seems the answer is in 2 Chr. 15:19 “There was NO MORE WAR until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.” Indeed, that safe time is God’s blessing because Asa has been faithful and relied on God, but it seems that the safe period slowly makes Asa’s “fire” fade.

In everyday life, “no war” means no struggle, no challenges, everything goes smoothly without significant obstacles. If we aren’t aware of guarding the heart, this safe and calm situation can make us complacent and lulled. The sign that we are lulled into a safe zone is no more vision, dreams, and higher goals to be achieved. This is a situation that is actually dangerous because it can make us fall asleep spiritually. We are still in the church and still serving God, but slowly we lose fire and our love for God has ever been in our hearts. We aren’t firm anymore in holding the truth, no longer thirsty with God, not close to God as before, no longer leaning on and relying on God completely.

The safe zone isn’t wrong but it is dangerous if we are carried away in it. Therefore, when God takes us in a safe zone, that’s the TIME that God gives us so we can focus on BUILDING OUR SELF. As Asa strengthens Judah by building fortresses so that enemies cannot be easily penetrated (see 2 Chr. 14: 6-7), we must also build what is inside us to become a stronger person and ready to face what will happen to future. There are two possibilities that will occur before us: Problems or Blessings. Problems and blessings both need capacity to overcome. People who are unable to deal with problems can be desperate, angry with the situation, and disappointed with God. But people who aren’t ready to receive blessings can also be arrogant, too confident, not leaning wholeheartedly on God. Not a few Christians who diligently pray when there are problems and then move away from God when their prayers are answered and they are blessed abundantly. Therefore we must prepare ourselves to face problems and to receive blessings.

At least. there are three things that must be built and strengthened so that we don’t collapse when hit by problems and aren’t complacent when receiving blessings: SPIRITUAL, MENTAL, and SKILLS. Spirituality and mentality are built by fellowship with God, doing God’s words and through a willingness to change, so that we are rooted, grow, and bear fruit in Him (Luke 6: 46-49). Skill is built by training to sharpen existing potential and also learn new things to increase knowledge and enrich skills. If we consistently build ourselves in Christ, we will be better prepared at any time when problems come or at any time receive greater trust and responsibility from God.

In this life season after season will come in turn and there are times when we take the wrong step. At present some of us may be in a complicated situation caused by past sins. Actions that are already wrong are irrevocable, but there is always hope if we repent and are willing to change. Crucial issues are often not on the fault but on the attitude of the heart to God’s reproof. The response to God’s rebuke will certainly affect our future, namely whether we will be restored or even more trapped in new mistakes that increasingly drag us into spiritual degenerate. It is a pity if something that we have started properly finally doesn’t produce as much fruit as it should just because we hardened our hearts and didn’t want to repent. The past cannot be changed, but our conversion today can change the future. At present, whether we first started the first step correctly or not, the most important thing is to let the remaining time wisely and immediately turn away from mistakes. Don’t fall asleep with a safe zone that can endanger us and don’t give up on fulfilling the task that God has entrusted us to the end with excellence.

Stay vigilant even though in a safe zone, because a little disturbance in a calm atmosphere will be very shocking if we fall asleep in it.

Amen.

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images

 

 

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 POWER OF FORGIVENESS (Guest Post)

“One behalf of the company and personally I apologize for what we have done to you. We know and totally realize that we have done disservice you not only materially but rather to morally. We will officially make a press conference to clarify our statement and we are ready to accept any legal consequences from you and your company.”

My dear readers, first of all I want to say thank you for your support and prayer of my problem that I have shared some time ago. I am grateful God not only strengthen me in facing the problem but amazingly He solved my problem. After quite long investigation process, the government finally could find no charge at all. All of the business processes that our company did clearly did not infringe the clauses of the law.The authorities that conduct an investigation didn’t find any indication I did bribe to the some government officer in order to won the project tender. The statement above was from one of VIP of the company that became our competitor. With some others he came to my office to apologize because they have slandered me. Then I said: “I am grateful to God and thank you for willing to meet me personally. I really appreciate it.  I think this problem has been finished and you don’t need to make a press conference to clarify your statement.With the great honor happily I accept your apology. I hope and pray that in the future we could work together to make a better achievement”

After that moment, one of my staff come to me and said, “How you could easily forgive them and as if you already forget all that they have done to us?  Surprisingly, you even hope in the future could be working with them! Did you forget we’ve got moral losses?”

Beloved readers, this is about forgiveness. I really realize that sometimes we are very difficult to forgive those who have done wrong to us. To be honest, it’s not easy to forgive someone who already slandered and tried to spoil my reputation without any evidence at all. There was a struggle in my heart.

My post this time will be quite long. Sister Sella wrote this beautifully and completely detailed. I hope you will be patient read this post.

 

the power of forgiveness

Forgiveness is a sacrifice that containing a great grace of liberation.

Forgiveness could reconnect a broken rope of love, could mend a broken relationship, even able to liberate someone from death penalty.

We all know that forgive is a noble nature. Even more as Christ follower we could understand that forgiving is deign and pleasing God. God commanded to us to not repay evil for evil, love our enemies, and forgive someone who persecutes us, even up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). Just because we know to forgive are God’s command and will, then whether we could easily to do that thing? Not at all!

I am so blessed after read Karina’s post “They Could Find No Charge”. When she was slandered and had to undergo investigations for an accusation that she never did, I really know indeed Karina has a power and chance to take revenge and sue them back for justice. But the thing that inspired me is that she did not use her power, but chose to forgive and surrender everything to God. It was the same as someone who intentionally did not use his hands to hit back when was hitting and it wasn’t easy.

Struggle in releasing forgiveness is real in everyday life. Nobody is immune to anger, disappointment, and hurt. Deliberately or not, sometime someone hurt and harm us. Though many people knows that forgiveness is a necessary but still isn’t easy to do. That is why forgiveness is so expensive.  No one could do it easily unless they enabled by the power beyond themselves: LOVE!

 

LOVE IS FORGIVENESS

Our Father sacrificed His begotten Son to die for us. Why God was willing and able to do it? Because He is love! God isn’t only has love, but God is love itself! We will not be able to forgive if love (God) doesn’t control our lives, because true forgiveness always based and driven by love.

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NKJV)

Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins. (Proverbs 10:12 NKJV)

Forgiving is one of the real form of God’s love. Holy Spirit has been poured out God’s love in our heart. As just as we accept the grace of forgiveness from God, we must give compassion and mercy to those who have wronged us

 

FORGIVING IS REFLECT OF HUMILITY

For the sake of us The Lord Jesus left Heaven where He reigns as King of kings with all His greatness. He came down to the world as a servant. Instead of prostration and honor that’s always devoted to the Angel, He accepts humiliation and abuse from those who crucified Him. Instead of Glory and mightiness, He was being an object of spectacle and stained. God’s word says that for a little while made lower than the angel (Hebrews 2:9).  He was willing to bear all it for the sake of atoned our sins. That is humility.

Without humility we will not be able to forgive. Humility means not hold our position and also don’t require others to recognize “who” we are. A humble man doesn’t ask to being respected and appreciated instead putting others than himself. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus said, “…..learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart …..”.  Let’s learn from the Lord Jesus who humbled himself to give forgiveness for us. Let us also humbles ourselves to forgive our neighbor.

 

FORGIVENESS BRINGS LIBERATION

There is a story in Matthew 18:21-35. There was a servant who should be punished because he cannot pay off the debt of 10 thousand talents. By the mercy of the king he was released and the debts abolished. After his release, he met his friend who was unable to pay debts amounting to 100 denarii to him. His friend begged him for mercy but he just entering his friend to the prison.

The servant had received forgiveness of big debt that will never be able to repay, but he would not give forgiveness to his friend who owed him the amount of debt is much smaller than his debt to the king. Finally the king wrathful and punish him until he is able to pay off the entire debt.

Forgiving is not only frees people from the “debt”, but to forgive also means freeing ourselves. Although we have been redeemed from sin and death, but us always need forgiveness from God because in everyday life we can still fall into the sin. If we want to be forgiven by God, we must be willing to forgive our neighbor.

 

FORGIVENESS IS A DOOR TO MIRACLE

In Mark 11:20-26 Jesus teach His disciples  about prayer. We have power to move the mountain if we believe (Verse 24). But there is an important thing to do before praying: “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Verse 25-26)

Hatred, anger, resentment, bitterness, and all the negative feelings that we save is a sin. Sin is a barrier the answer of prayer! Therefore, God wants us to forgive. Not merely for the sake of those who have wronged us, but in fact for the sake of ourselves! We will not be able to worship God and have firm faith if we keep the hatred or anger to someone, because only those who are clean and pure in heart shall see God (Psalms 24:3-4 and Matthew 11:8).

Not willing to forgive is the same as putting a barrier between us and God, which means blocking the answers of prayer that we expect. If we expect a miracle from God, we must forgive.

 

FORGIVENESS RID OF THE DARKNESS

“But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:11 NKJV) 

Hatred is like the darkness that blinding our spiritual eyes. Hatred makes us couldn’t hear God’s voice and couldn’t catch His word. It is the meaning with placing us in the darkness because we don’t even know our direction. Release forgiveness as God commanded to us so our spiritual eyes will be open again because God’s word is the light that shines our path.

 

FORGIVING MEANS RELINQUISH THE RIGHT

Several years ago at the office where I work there was an incident the microwave burned due to the negligence of someone. We cannot know and find out who did it because the position of pantry not covered by CCTV. A few months later the leader rebuked me because someone said that I am the culprit. Which made me disappointed was, someone who slandered me is a trusted worship leader. Actually I want to meet her and confront the wrong accusation but for the some reason my leader didn’t allow me to do it. After the accident, it was so hard for me to enjoy the God’s presence when she led the praise and worship. Then I realized if I always in that bad situation I will lose. I cannot pray, I could not be joyful, and always filled with hatred to her. Finally I decided to forgive and let what she did to me go! May God knows I didn’t do thing that accused by her. After that, I can pray again and even made a friendship with her without demanding any explanation.

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18 NKJV)

Forgiveness needs our willingness to relinquish the right.  Relinquish the rights to take vengeance, the right to sue a justice, the right to self-defense, and so on. And it all isn’t so easy to do just because involves our ego. However, once we are willing to do it, in fact we are allowing God to scrape the flesh and bring us to the higher spiritual maturity level.

 

FORGIVENESS BRINGS JOY AND PEACE

As human being it is normal if we cannot easily accept when harmed or hurt in any form. We want to take revenge so they feel what we feel. But forgive oblige us to let “the feeling” go. Many of us cannot forgive because not willing to liberate our enemies from our “punishment”. But in fact, what happened is opposite! When we don’t want to forgive, indeed we ourselves will suffer. Our mind and feeling tempestuous even often we will get health problems, while those who we hate maybe just fine and probably not even aware of his mistake.

On one side forgive seemed to benefit other people and harm us. But on the other hand, real forgiveness brings relief, peace and joy for us. With forgive then we are freed from the burden and the shackles of hatred, anger, disappointment, bitterness, resentment, and emotional wounds. Forgiving bring relief to our hearts and minds so that we can rejoice again. Even in the many testimonies I heard, forgiveness brings miraculous physical healing!

 

FORGIVING MEANS LOVE GOD

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20 NKJV)

We often say that we love God, but at the same time we hate our brethren. The Word of God insists that we cannot love God if in our hearts there is hatred. In other words, if we truly love God, then we will not stay in hatred. We must be willing to forgive and even with the power of God we can love our enemies.

 

FORGIVING MEANS TRUST AND SURRENDER TO GOD

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19 NKJV)

God is righteous and His is our protector. Forgiving means to recognize God’s power that able to defend us. Forgiving means believe that God will act and we feel safe in His protection. But how can we submit to Him if we don’t know Him? Therefore we must build the altar of prayer every day and have intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Keep reading the God’s word so our faith will be grow. Without faith it’s impossible we could surrender to Him. Our ability to forgive will go hand in hand with spiritual maturity and growth of our faith. Conversely, if we refuse to forgive our spiritual growth and faith will be hampered.

 

FORGIVING IS A PERSONAL MATTER WITH GOD

There are no exceptions in forgiveness. No matter big or small case, ordinary anger or deep wounds, minor crimes or big betrayal: our position and our status as children of God oblige us to be willing to forgive.

Forgiving is God’s character. If God’s spirit within us so we also definitely have heart that willing to forgive. Not instantly and automatically because forgiveness is about heart and feeling. Everyone needs different time to could overcome it. It is all about how we could let our heart to be processed by God

I must admit that sometimes we couldn’t accept why people are hurt and harm us as if his life was fine while we have to suffer because of his actions. But in forgiveness, God does not deal with other people’s hearts. God was dealing with our hearts. Hearts of others is their own affairs with God.

“I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds. I examine people’s hearts. I deal with each person according to how he has behaved. I give them what they deserve based on what they have done.” (Jeremiah 17:10 NET)

Whatever the case, who are guilty, those who were hurt, forgiveness is a private matter of each person with God.

 

GOD ENABLED

God is not God who gave the command to His children without giving the ability to carry out His orders. If God commands us to forgive means that He has provided everything we need to do. God give us strength, patience, joy, comfort, peace, rescue and defense of His perfect. There is a blessing of forgiveness.

Forgiving isn’t easy but isn’t impossible.  The key is we must be willing to cooperate with God because nothing impossible before God and for all those who believe in Him. God is love and God’s love is never fails. We must live in His love and filled with His love by always doing His Word.

“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” (1 John 2:5 (NKJV) 

Right now, please allow me to encourage all of you to make commitment to always do God’s word so God’s power of love will work in us and finally we will be able to forgive.

Let us always open our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to correct, form, and turn us into a person who meek and obedient. Forgiving is painful for our flesh, but if we are willing to obey and surrender then we will become more beautiful and like Christ, our Redeemer.

Forgiving is a process that takes time and sacrifice. But at the end of painful process, we are the one who will reap the results, receive blessings, and enjoy life in His glory.

 

AMEN

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Image Source: Google Images

(edit with pixlr app)

WHEN THE SHOW IS OVER (Guest Post)

WHEN THE SHOW IS OVERFor some people, being on the stage show is always become an interesting thing.  Bathed by sparkling light and accompanied by a loud of applause is a special satisfaction for them. Cameras are placed on the different side and angle so the cameras could clearly capture and record every detail of their movement and expression.

Well you know, no matter how small mistakes and flaws they have, it will be revealed when they under the spray of lighting, the cameras panned them, and the eyes of audience focused on them. That’s why the stage seems demanding “A perfection” to those who act on the stage. Require high quality of talent, the beauty of costumes, expression, and so on.

“The must perform perfectly” makes a lot of people willing to do the extra effort. They practiced for months, setting up quite big funds for costumes, a strict diet in order to look more attractive, and all other efforts in order to give the best. Well of course they put the big expectation to get a great response.

No doubt! Anyone who stands on the stage will always be the limelight. If they successfully stunning, they will get a great compliments. But if failed, they will get bad scorn.

All that I wrote above is the stage in the real sense. Now please allow me to use the “Stage” term as an illustration in our everyday life.

 

THE STAGE OF LIFE

In the daily activities every people has their own “Stage”, which is an area or moment where every of their appearance, abilities, and personality can be seen, felt and judged by others. This area or moment could be anything and anywhere such as in the working world, school, college, malls, social organizations, even in the Church services, and others.

God’s word has been telling us that: ”For the Lord does not see as man sees; FOR MAN LOOKS AT THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b) The easy thing that could draw people attention is what is emblazoned in the front of their eyes, whether it is good or bad.

As a performer on the stage, many of us today when will, ongoing, or after doing something, thinking about what others think about us.

For example:

If they thought I am a great worker?

Whether according to my friends I am a nice person? If I do this thing, whether they will think I am snob?

Whether the congregation thinks that my ministry is tremendous?

Does anyone see when I was do something wrong?

Whether my today looks is so impressive?

And so on…

Nobody wants to look bad in the other’s eyes. It is be the impetus for us to trying hard to make the best performance. Is it wrong? No! God has conferred us a life. God provides valuable opportunities to work and serve Him. All that things are an entrusted moment that has given by God so that we could reflect His glory and blessing. Certainly we have to give our best and not to be carelessly in order not to be a stumbling block.

The problem is for WHO and for WHAT we do everything? For self-gratification, compliment, be loved by many people, got a promotion, is considered as a good and godly person, respected, or….??

 

FOR THE LORD

And WHATEVER you do, do it heartily, as TO THE LORD and NOT TO MEN. (Collosians 3:23)

There is a big difference between doing to God and to man. If we did everything to God, then we would certainly prefer the favor of God instead of human assessment. If our motivation is to God, then we will be more focused on what is seen by God, namely HEART us, and not just pursue all things that look dazzling in the human’s eyes.

Many people, even Christians, ignore their hearts in order to get a positive assessment from the human. Jesus gave an example someone who did worship with TO BE SEEN BY MEN motivation. And Jesus called them a hypocrite (Matthew 6:5).

Look at how something is good and right in the eyes of man are not necessarily good and right in the Lord’s eyes. Why? Once again, because man see what is in the front of their eyes, But GOD SEES THE HEART. Something right if done with the wrong heart attitude will be wrong in the God’s eyes. So what we should do to not get stuck in it?

 

INTEGRITY AND UPRIGHTNESS

Let INTEGRITY and UPRIGHTNESS preserve me, For I wait for You. (Psalm 25:21)

This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense TOWARD GOD AND MEN. (Acts 24:16)

We must build our lives in integrity and uprightness according to the standard of God’s word. Build a life without pretense and ulterior motives. What appears on the outside should be the same as what is inside. What is not seen should be the same with is seen. Our Actions and attitudes should reflect what is in our hearts and not “act” in order to get the applause and recognition.

Our actual “Value” is not when we are acting on “the stage of life” but when we are in the behind “The closed curtains” and there is no one see us.

 

As a stage show:

When the show is over…

When lighting has been turned off…

When the camera is no longer on..

When attention is no longer focused on us…

Do we still have a heart GIVING THE BEST in all things?

Are we still behave, and do the best just like when we seen?

WHEN THE SHOW IS OVER, DO WE STILL BE THE SAME PERSON AS WHEN WE WERE ON STAGE??

 

All is back to the true heart. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverb 4:23)  A godly heart would bring forth a godly life. The sacred heart will bring forth the holy life, etc.

Let’s give the best in integrity and uprightness. Not in order to get a positive appreciation of other people and not for the benefit of ourselves, but for God and for God alone. As David’s prayers, let us allow the Holy Spirit to examine and evaluate our inner thoughts and motives in our deepest hearts and minds, so that we always walk in God’s truth.

Examine me, O Lord, and test me! Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives! (Psalms 26:2 NET)

For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth. (Psalms 26:3 NKJV)

 

Amen.

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Image source: http://wallpapercave.com

A Gift for Jesus

 

A GIFT FOR JESUS -Karina's Thought

 

Yesterday was our 1st wedding anniversary.  In accordance with our agreement, we were not celebrated with a romantic candle light dinner or something, yet we have decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary at the orphanage and held a Christmas celebration together with the orphans. Why we had an idea like that?  Because we just want to celebrate our wedding anniversary with a slightly different way and coincides with Christmas day. We just want to share blessings and happiness to those who in need. For both of us, had a lunch with the orphans, played around and sang together with them was the most romantic moment. However, here I don’t want to talk about our celebration but I want to talk about something important that I got from it.

When the orphans made Christmas decoration contest, I found something that made me moved. I saw a little girl put a manger under her Christmas tree. The interesting thing is there were two babies doll in that manger. Why there were two babies? I wondered.  “Why you put two babies in your manger?” I asked. Then she replied with innocent voice, “Ma’am, I do not have anybody but I have Jesus. I do not have anything as a gift because I’m poor. Therefore, I want to give myself as a gift to Him. Both babies it was me and Jesus. I thought I could accompany him and give a little warmth to Jesus. That’s all I can give.”  To be honest, that little girl answer was jerking my heart and made me not able to hold my tears. What a very touching and heartwarming answer. I was thinking that God said the same words like that liitle girl: ”  I want to give myself as a give to you. Both babies- It was you and Me. I thought I could accompany you and give you a little warmth” Then My husband said. “Today we have got precious lesson from this little girl”

When Christmas comes, we are always busy with preparations to celebrate Christmas. We are busy thinking about Christmas gifts for our friends and families. The question arises in my mind. If we have prepared the best Christmas gift to those whom we love, what about to the figure that actually we celebrate? Jesus! Whether we have prepared a gift for Jesus? And what kind of gifts that is pleasing Him? Before we answer those questions, I ask you to once again reflect on the true essence of Christmas.

Jesus came to this world with an important purpose. He came to save and redeem our sins. Based on the great God’s love, He came to rub out the world’s sins and paved the way to us into the salvation. This is not trivial. Let’s ponder who we are so that we are so precious in the sight of God to be saved? David once questioned this thing when he was mesmerized in awe as he looked at the beautiful sky.

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

(Psalm 8:4, NIV)

Have we made a big contribution so that God be indebted to us and should to pay us? Are we so holy flawless so that God feels guilty if He does not save us? No! Indeed, we are human beings who often doing sinful things, we still often disappoint God with all our behavior which not pleasing before God. Even so, in fact God still love us. Even though God created this universe so beautiful, we are the mankind still the most precious creations that created in His image itself. As written in Genesis 1:26 (NIV):

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

And we also crowned with glory and honor,

You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5 NIV)

Therefore, our salvation was become an important God’s agenda and was based on His Greatest love to us, and He granted upon the humans.  Grace is not a grace when given based on logrolling. It is precisely because we are not worthy but God still gave. That is called a grace. The Holy Bible describes this thing so beautiful and touching,

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

What a greatest love of God which is able to move His heart for sacrificing of Christ to replace all of our sins on the cross, pay in full  our sins, and deliver us from the curse and bring salvation that supposed not be worthy for us to have. All of it is merely based on His Great love to us. Imagine how our lives today if Jesus did not come into this world and redeem our sins, break the shackles of sin and the curse, replacing us on the Cross and saved us from the death. How horrible our lives!

With very long and tiring journey the Magi from the east came to Jerusalem to worship the Baby Jesus. But their tiredness was gone and turned into the joy when they saw the star. (Matthew 2:2, 10 NIV) If we look at the previous chapter we can see what the angel said to Joseph through a dream,

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us) (Matthew 1:21-23 NIV)

Let’s ponder to the meaning of Immanuel. The birth of Jesus to this world brought very big impact to our life journey and salvation. And that’s supposed to be the source of our joy in welcoming the Christmas day. If God gave a tremendous gift to us, what can we give to Him? Let’s to be honest how often we forget this. We often ask to God to fulfill all our wishes, but how often do we think about what we can give to God as the most beautiful gift and pleasing to God?

Now back to the previous question. Whether we have prepared a gift for Jesus? And what kind of gifts that is pleasing Him? In fact most beautiful gift we have to prepare and give to Jesus is our heart. That is a gift that can please God. God wants our open hearts, gentle, willing to be formed, trust in Him, and always truly love and worship Him. We may not like a little girl in the orphanage who did not have anything. We may be able to give very expensive gifts, but once again we have to remember that God does not want any of it. A heart that the fear to God, clean, ready to receive Christ to dwell in it, and also a heart  that full of love for our fellow human beings, just as Christ loved us. This is actually God wants from us.

One day a scribe said, “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33) Then what Jesus’ response?

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”(Mark 12:34 NIV) So it is so clear through these verses we can see what the real gift we can give to Jesus. Heart that loves God and others, that’s a very beautiful gift to give to us in celebrating the birth of Jesus in the world. Furthermore Jesus also said:

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’(Matthew 25:40 NIV)

The Lord Jesus does not require worldly gifts in the form of goods, jewelry, materials and or something like that. What will please Him is the love to God (love in vertically) and to each other (horizontally). Loves come from the heart. So heart that fully leads to Him and centered to His will, will become a very beautiful gift to Jesus.

My dear readers, Christmas is a moment in which we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ to the world as the  form of greatest gift from the Father to redeem for our sins and bring we out of death to enter the eternal life. Let we sanctify ourselves, admit our sins, and ask God to forgive and cleanse our hearts. As God commanded,

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.

(Isaiah 1:16 NIV)

God is always ready to give forgiveness, even restoring joy when we turn from the way of evil and return to His ways. As God said,

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Let us have a sacred heart as clean and white as a snow and eventually will be worth as a beautiful Christmas gift to Jesus our Lord. 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 Andrew say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” to all of you. You all so precious for us and we are so blessed to have you all. God bless you.

Karina – Living by Faith

Photo credit: wallpaperup.com

 Thank you very much to Paulfg at http://justmebeingcurious.com/ for wonderful expression on my post.

 

Trust in the LORD… (Proverb 3:5)

Trust to the Lord proverb  3 5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverb 3:5-6)

I remembered when the first day I officially replace my dad’s position in the office. I took time to talk with my secretary privately.  In our conversation, she asked me a question: “Ma’am, do you really trust me that I am capable to assist you to complete every your office work?” This question is quite difficult to answer. I could not say “Yes, I really trust you” Because I don’t know everything about her very well, I just know she is my daddy’s secretary before.

But I am trying to answer her question wisely. “I trust to God that He will enable you to become a good secretary and could assist me to complete my office task. I trust to God that He will provide guidance and help us when we have problems.”

This is about trust. A short word but have a deeply meaning and oftentimes hard to be applied in our lives. In our Christian lives we will be faced with many problems and trials. We might be facing a bad financial problem, major medical trials, problem in marriage life, jobs, and many other problems that we cannot predict. When it all comes, to whom we should to trust? To whom we should to lean? Where we should to go?

The Bible verse above clearly said: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” This is the answer! Trust to the Lord.  To whom we should to lean? This Bible verse gives us the answer as well. “Lean not on your understanding; in all your ways submit to him” Lean to the Lord! Where we should to go?  When trials come we need to go to the Father in prayer asking for His guidance and help through our trials. He will make our path straight (verse 6). We know that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

I Might be able to share the problems to my secretary but the most possibility answer that I can get is, “The best way is pray to God and put your trust in Him. Ask Him to lead and help you to overcome every problem” I am definitely sure everyone will give the same answer. Even when we consult to the pastor, I believe the pastor will direct us to God and advised us to persevere in prayer, standing on His word, and keep trust in God’s power. People around us could not solve our problem but God will use people around us to solve our problem according His will.

When I should to make an important decision, the important thing that I should to do is consult to God so I am not standing on my own comprehension, seeking God’s direction, and wait for God to straighten my path. But the problem is seeking God’s direction for our lives could be difficult thing to do. We have a tendency to want to make our will appear to be God’s will. This often happens when there is no clear direction from God and when God does not answer our prayer. So, what should we do?  Once again we should to hold on God’s word: “Trust in the Lord with all our heart” We should to trust in the Lord and wait patiently on Him. We have to step out in faith and trust that the Lord will direct our steps. God knows what the best for us.

There will be other times when we feel that we are following the God’s will but everything is not working out perfectly.  We often expect that things will fall perfectly in line when we are walking in the God’s will. While we may experience this from time to time it will not always be the case. Times like this may create doubt in our heart. We may doubt whether we understood what the Lord meant for us to do and this can create fear. Sometimes we will then decide we should not be where we are and that the Lord is directing us somewhere else. It is the fear response to run from situation that drives us to make a rash decision. Instead, we need to resist the urge to create our own roadmap and trust completely to God.

My dear lovely reader, where we place our trust now? To whom we should to lean? Where we should go to submit all of our problems?  Are we still standing in our own comprehension?  Let’s us ponder again the verse of Proverb above. That is the answer of these questions. Fully trust that God is able and willing to release us from any difficult situation and always remember what Jesus said in Matthew 19:26: Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  There is nothing impossible before God. Amen.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)

Karina

Photo credit: Sue Nash http://heavenlyraindrops.wordpress.com