Tag Archive | Holy spirit

GOD’S LOVE IN THE SUFFERING (guest post)

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

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. (Isaiah 43:1-3)

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

THE CARE OF GOD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE GOOD FATHER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOD WITH US

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

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

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

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

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

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

A M E N

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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

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

Photo Credit: Google Images  (edited with pixlr app)

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HOLDING THE ANGER (guest post)

Anger is one form of expression of human emotions. Everyone can feel angry, including a child who has not been able to express the feelings through words. Many things can trigger our anger, from big things to trivial issues. Angry with the particular situation, people around us, ourselves, even against God. People can also feel angry though not know angry to no one or anything. Even some people can hide anger in their hearts although from the outside they look fine. And in the some situations, one can get angry for no reason then vent their anger on others just because of a bad mood. As a Christian, is it wrong to have anger in our hearts? The answer depends on what causes the anger and how we handle it.

 

ANGER KILLS

Anger has dangerous potential if not resolved soon. People who are ruled by anger will tend to vent their emotions in the wrong way and excessive. The Bible had written many stories about the adverse effects of anger, such as Cain and Haman.

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering….. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So CAIN WAS VERY ANGRY, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, SIN IS CROUCHING AT YOUR DOOR…..; it desires to have you, but YOU MUST RULE OVER IT.” (Genesis 4:3-7)

At the time Cain became angry, God didn’t say that Cain had sinned at that moment, but God warned that “SIN IS CROUCHING AT THE DOOR” and Cain MUST RULE OVER IT. Unfortunately Cain didn’t obey God. He allowed the anger to manipulate and control himself. Then the first murder occurred in the history of mankind: Brother killed his brother! All started with an anger!

IN YOUR ANGER DO NOT SIN: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and DO NOT GIVE THE DEVIL A FOOTHOLD. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Do not let the sun goes down while we are still angry. The anger that “momentarily arises in the heart” if not immediately resolved is the same with open up the opportunity for the devil to bring us into the sin: vilification, slander, hatred, resentment, bitterness, murder, and other evil acts. In his anger Cain killed one man, but Haman designed the massacre of one nation simply because he was angry with one man!

And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and did reverence to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or do him reverence……. And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or do him reverence, HE WAS VERY ANGRY. But he scorned laying hands only on Mordecai.……Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. (Esther 3:2-6 AMP)

Furthermore, we knew that God thwart the evil design of Haman, even it turned destroy himself!!

Unresolved anger can be a snare to ourselves. Maybe we don’t physically kill others, but anger kills our own soul and spirituality, also destroys our relationship with God and our neighbor. Venting anger blindly will not solve the problem, it just makes the situation and communication worse.

There are many other examples in the Bible about the ravages and deaths caused by anger. Therefore the Lord said that we should stop anger immediately before the anger drags us into evil.

CEASE FROM ANGER, AND FORSAKE WRATH; Do not fret–it only causes harm. (Psalms 37:8 NKJV)

Then to what extent we are allowed to get angry? The answer is back to what is the motivation of our anger, and whether our anger leads to destruction or generates goodness and restoration.

 

THE RIGHT ANGER

The right anger is to be angry for the right reasons with the right sayings and actions, just as Jesus did: Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:13-16 NKJV)

Jesus was angry for the right reason: NOT COMPROMISING WITH SIN. Jesus immediately acted decisively by removing what was wrong. But notice that Jesus didn’t burst His anger blindly or cursed them. Instead, He told them what their fault is, and taught them what is the right so that they don’t continue to live in their sins.

And as HE TAUGHT THEM, he said, “Is it not written: “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'” The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because THE WHOLE CROWD WAS AMAZED AT HIS TEACHING. (Mark 11:17-18 NIV)

Right anger must be accompanied by a right guidance and action. The guidance and action must be delivered in love and in harmony with our authority. Wise communication is needed so as not to cause misunderstandings, although the risk is still possible. When Jesus was angry and declared what was their fault, some of them didn’t like it. But on the other hand, many people were amazed at His teaching. They must have experienced a paradigm shift in their lives, as long as they didn’t harden their hearts.

Anger based on true motivation that delivered in the right way with the right guidance and action in love, sooner or later will build people and become a blessing. On the contrary, we will be guilty before God if we don’t angry at the moment we should be angry, like Eli who did nothing and not rebuked his children even though he knew that they have sinned.

I’m bringing judgment on his family for good. He knew what was going on, that his sons were desecrating God’s name and God’s place, and HE DID NOTHING TO STOP THEM. (1 Samuel 3:13 MSG)

I’ve told him that I’m about to judge his family forever because of the iniquity that he knew about. His sons committed blasphemyg and HE DID NOT REBUKE THEM. (1 Samuel 3:13 ISV)

There is a moment we must be angry, that is when we see unrighteousness and various forms of sinful deeds. But again, the anger must be controlled and delivered with love.

 

SLOW TO BECOME ANGRY

Anger is a normal psychological reaction and doesn’t necessarily make us become sinners in the time we feel angry, but it doesn’t mean we free to be angry. Angry isn’t the same as irritability. Everyone has many reasons to get angry if always follow ego and feelings. It will form our personality and characters become irritable person if we don’t handle it.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and SLOW TO BECOME ANGRY, (James 1:19 NIV)

God not only asks us to slowly become angry, but also teaches us not to associate with one easily angry:

DO NOT MAKE FRIENDS WITH A HOT-TEMPERED MAN, DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH ONE EASILY ANGERED, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. (Proverbs 22:24-25 NIV)

This shows how anger is so bad and harmful to our lives. Why? “for MAN’S ANGER does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:20 NIV)

Man’s anger is all anger that comes from human flesh: offended, feeling belittled, hurt, disappointed, dissatisfied, and everything from human ego. Man’s anger is always self-centered: what bothers me, what I don’t like, what I want, what I think is good, and everything that is centered on “me”. The benchmark is always “me”, regardless of the other person. Cain and Haman are examples. Cain was angry because envy of his brother and felt rejected by God. Haman was angry because he felt unappreciated. The Bible tells clearly how the bad consequences of man’s anger.

 

SILENT AND MEDITATE

As human beings who are still living in blood and flesh, we can’t escape completely from egocentricity because we all still proceed to perfection. Then how if our hearts hit by anger??

BE ANGRY, AND DO NOT SIN. MEDITATE WITHIN YOUR HEART on your bed, and be still. Selah (Psalms 4:4 NKJV)

Be angry  and sin not; COMMUNE WITH YOUR OWN HEARTS upon your beds and be silent (SORRY FOR THE THINGS YOU SAY IN YOUR HEARTS). Selah ! (Psalms 4:4 AMP)

If we angry, don’t hurry to vent! Silence for a moment and take time to meditate deeply: why are we angry, should we be angry, what is our motivation, right or wrong, and so on. When our anger subsides and our heart starts to calm down, we will be able to see the situation and problems more clearly so we can express our hearts wisely, take the right steps, and not fall into sin in our anger.

If we angry for the right reason, the Holy Spirit will anoint and guide us to do what we must do in love and according to His will. If we find ourselves angry for the wrong reasons, the best way is to straighten our hearts and learn to put our flesh under God’s will. What if the anger has brought us into sin? The forgiveness is always available to everyone who confesses sin: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NKJV)

 

WALK AND LIVE IN THE SPIRIT

We can’t be a meek, patient, loving, and not grumpy person just by relying on our own strength. All it requires CHANGES FROM WITHIN. There is an ego that must be eroded, the flesh that must be subjugated to Christ’s will, the character to be processed, and the heart formed by God. We can indeed control anger with our own understanding and strength, but only God can do divine things with eternal fruits in our lives. The key is to live in communion with the Holy Spirit.

But I say, walk and live  in the  Spirit ; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the  Spirit, and the  Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other , so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. (Galatians 5:16-17 AMP)

If we always walk and live in the Holy Spirit then our lives will bear the fruit of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a NKJV)

If we have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then we will not be easily angry. Let’s depend on and obey the Holy Spirit so that we mature in spirituality and character and become wise person who can control our emotions, even able to assuage the anger of others.

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29:11 NIV)

Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images  (edited with pixlr app)

 

ONLY THROUGH LOVE (guest post)

Our Christian identity is not like ID card that reads “Christian”, the symbol of the cross, or a painting of Jesus hanging on the walls of our homes. Nor various attributes nuanced “Christian” that we use.

Our Christian identity is LOVE, because love is God’s “FINGER PRINT” in us. Only through the love then the world will know the Father through us.

Have we live and move only in and by Father’s love??

From the beginning the Christ followers had experience a variety obstacles and challenges. Acts 4 tells us that Peter and John were arrested by the priests because they proclaim Jesus’ resurrection. In Chapter 5 the high priest and his followers captured the apostles and put them in jail because of jealous and indignation. And after the martyrdom of Stephen in chapter 6 and 7, many obstacles and challenges increasingly expanded until now.

This is not surprising because the Lord Jesus himself said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18–19 NKJV)

As followers of Christ in the modern world, we not only have to maintain the purity of faith in the midst of an increasingly free lifestyle, but we also have to be careful and thoughtful in dealing with various obstacles and challenges that may come. Knowingly or not, the world will continually see us. They see every speech and our actions. They assess how a follower of Christ to respond when treated not well.

When our hearts are hurt, whether we will reply to wounding with sharper “arms” or we will forgive them.  When we are insulted, whether we will turn disparage them or we give them smile. When we hated, whether we will respond with scorn or we will give them love. The world will see what our respond when all the unpleasant things happened to us.

In Acts 6 & 7, Stephen was being treated cruel and unjust. He was falsely accused on charges of blasphemy: Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.  And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” (Acts 6:9-11)

The result of all that is Stephen brought to the council and must take the punishment that should not be, that died at the hands a lot of people who stoned him. Right at the threshold of death, Stephen prayed: “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60 NKJV)

In the midst of overflows hatred and anger of crowd to him, Stephen’s heart surrounded by the love that enabled him to forgive those who wronged him. What kind of love that able to forgive that great sin? It was not love that comes from the heart of an ordinary person!

In Acts 6:3,5,8 was written that Stephen was a good reputation person, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, full of faith and power. All of it, are spiritual qualities which only owned by the pious people, namely those who actually maintain his relationship with God. People are not just run a religious duty, but always live in intimacy with God, abiding, and really put their lives on God.

The reflection of Stephen’s intimacy with God is look so clear in the council when the witnesses gave false testimony about Stephen: And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw HIS FACE AS THE FACE OF AN ANGEL. (Acts 6:15 NKJV)

Stephen was full of God’s presence. The glory of God is so real surround him until other people can see it! The Holy Spirit lives within Stephen so he filled with love that enabled him to forgive and faithful till the end. Musing for all of us is: Did anyone else see the glory of God through our lives??

We know that human nature is returning evil for evil, and kindness with kindness. Some are even repay kindness with evil. But as followers of Christ we are required to live in different standard of love:

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46 NKJV)

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28 NKJV)

Christ teaches us to love those who hate us because they don’t know what they did. They hate us because they do not know God the Father. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” (John 15:21 NKJV)

If we hate them, then who will preach the Gospel of Salvation to them?! Hate those who “persecute” us is tantamount to closing the door of salvation for them. Father’s will is that everyone is saved. Therefore we must demonstrate God’s love for them through concrete actions. Thus they will get to know Father in Heaven through us.

If we’ve done a good and right thing but others are still figure out our mistakes… If we are currently facing particular pressure because we are the obedient Christians… If someone mock us as “fanatics” or “pastor” because we do not want to compromise with certain sin… No matter of the form of obstacles and challenges that happened, our first response must be LOVE. If our hearts are always filled with Christ’s love, then that love will keep us so that our next move will not deviate from love corresponding with Father’s will.

In 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 was written the extreme comparison of love. Let me quote it in full for we reflect together:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NKJV)

Love is our Christian identity. Without love, all we do is nonsense, useless, and nothing! Let us not be known just as Christians who went to church, energetic in ministry, and is active in various social activities. All was good, but above all let us be known as a Christian who full of loving Christ.

However, how perfect the love of Christ! How high and deep His love is always far beyond of human’s love. Without His help, we would not be able to reach it. The love that could meet standard of God’s love is only love that comes from God’s Spirit alone!

“Now hope does not disappoint, because THE LOVE OF GOD HAS BEEN POURED OUT IN OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5 NKJV)

If we want to have the love of Christ, we must always be in with the Holy Spirit. If we continue to build intimacy with the Holy Spirit, from time to time, we will be change into more and more like Christ, so that we will enabled to love others as Christ has loved us first.

The core of Christianity is love because God is love. The reason of God’s works for the world is love. If we wish to be a blessing and bring many souls to Christ, there is no way other than we must always be connected with the Holy Spirit.

Let us open our heart and allow the Holy Spirit pour Father’s love till the love attached to be our identity that cannot be separated from our lives, flow through our lives, and touch a lot of people so they can feel and see it. Because only through love we can be a blessing and praising God.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV)

Amen

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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Make Me Always Thirsty

ThirstyDear God in Heaven,

Make me always thirsty for Your greatness and truth

  thirsty for Your divine thoughts

  thirsty for Your Holy Spirit fulfillment

Make me always thirsty for Your Wisdom words and promises

  thirsty for your love and compassion

 thirsty for Your abundance blessing and grace

Make me always thirsty for Your Heavenly comfort

 thirsty to always praise You endlessly into the universe

 thirsty to always become the light among the darkness

Make me thirsty to always bring the tidings of joy and salvation

 thirsty to always bring to You weary and burdened soul

As the deer pants for the water my soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Amen

 

Karina (Inspired from Psalm 42:2-3)

Photo credit: flickr.com