Tag Archive | Love

White Christmas

Hello my dear readers!! It’s me again. I’m grateful to God in this Christmas season I could write a short post to my blog and this post is the closing post for this year. I would like to thank to all faithful readers and follower who always give big support to my blog through like or comment on my posts. I really, really appreciate it. I hope and pray this blog will continue to sharing God’s blessing through God’s word.

Every time before Christmas comes, besides decorating Christmas tree and the whole house with various beautiful Christmas decorations, my parents also took out their collection of Christmas song vinyl records. One of their favorite Christmas song is “White Christmas” They said, though White Christmas isn’t a hymn Christmas song, the legendary “White Christmas” song could successfully bring Christmas atmosphere especially when the snow has come. All is white! Tree, house, land, and other will covered with white color and white is always used as a symbol of cleanliness and even holiness.

Dear readers, what were my parents said reminds me to the great Bible figure, David. Davis was known as a figure who was very close with God. But at one time he fell so deep into the sin by doing a series of despicable acts. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, lied, and the killed Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. The series of actions that David made in a row suddenly turned him into a very cruel figure and he was unaware that his actions were dominated by lust. He was ruled by sin. Bible said that what he did was considered evil in God’s eyes. Then God sent Nathan to warn David. When confronted with his transgressions, fortunately David didn’t dodge to defend himself. Bravely David admitted, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13a) and Nathan said to David, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” (2 Samuel 12:13) although there were still consequences of what David did, God gave a guarantee of forgiveness to David.

From what happened, David wrote Psalm 51. He wrote very deep series of poem of sin confession, repentance, and pleading for God’s forgiveness. One of them said:

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

(Psalm 51:7)

My beloved readers, Christmas is a moment we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ to the world as the greatest gift and grace from God to atone our sins and bring us out of the death to enter the eternal life. In this Christmas moment, allow me to encourage all of us to celebrate Christmas day not only by a party, give a Christmas gift to our loved ones, or take a Christmas holiday but let’s make Christmas as a moment to sanctify us, confess all of our sins, and ask God to forgive and cleanse our hearts. God said to us,

Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. (Isaiah 1:16)

And when we do that, 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)

God is always ready to give us forgiveness, even to restore joy when we turn from evil ways to His ways. God will whiten a very red sin as white as snow. Pure white snow is very beautiful in welcoming Christmas, but please remember, it’s not about white snow, but the most important in this Christmas day is our heart and soul as white and as clean as snow. And our lives will still in holiness because God said to us, “Be holy, because I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16) Let’s have a white Christmas.

On behalf of our family, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New year 2020

Make the season bright with holiness, peace, joy, love, and hope in God. Amen

Karina Lam

Living by faith.

Image source: google images

A God’s Message in a Flower (Guest Post)

On the edge of the road in front of my house, there is a tree.  In certain seasons, the blooming flowers are scattered on the ground and also on the hood of our car that we park under the tree. For years, I had never really paid attention to the flower, until one morning I casually picked it up and watched it closely.

The flower is very small.  The size is only as big as the nail of my thumb.  The shape is similar to orchids but in a mini version. The flower has 4 soft greenish-white petals and 3 bright yellow corolla that decorated with the reddish orange graffiti that twists beautifully, like the ink strokes of a reliable painter.  At the center, there are pistils and green stamens, the tip is round brownish red.  Mini flower appearance is so beautiful.  Regrettably, such beautiful flowers must be scattered on the ground, trampled by people passing by and run over by the wheels of passing vehicles.

This beautiful flower isn’t the kind of expensive flower that people hunt for collections, it isn’t the type of flower that the bride and groom buy to decorate the wedding hall, and not the type of flower arranged in a vase to beautify the banquet table.  Its name isn’t as popular as roses, jasmine, orchids, or other flowers known to many people.  Its size is small, so its beautiful appearance will not be exposed if we don’t carefully.  It’s just a tiny flower that grows, blooms, then falls to the ground, and maybe not many are interested in admiring its beauty or knowing its usefulness.  Then, for what does God dress the flowers in such detail and beauty ?!

Stay Loved even though We don’t Deserve to be Loved

God’s detailed and beautiful work on the small flower shows that God pays attention and expresses His creativity to all of His creations.  There is no creation that is worthless. There are no useless creations.  There is no creation that is created only for vanity, even more so humans for whom Jesus was even willing to sacrifice His life.

While we were still helpless [powerless to provide for our salvation], at the right time Christ died [as a substitute] for the ungodly.   Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to willingly give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a good man [one who is noble and selfless and worthy] someone might even dare to die.  But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5: 6-8  AMP)

Jesus died for us not because we are godly, righteous people, obeying God’s laws, and have good qualities and good character.  On the contrary, we were people who did not respect God, opposed God, did not even believe in God and were full of evil.  In such an unworthy situation, Jesus loves us.  In fact, God immediately revealed His redemptive plan only shortly after the first man fell into sin: “And I will put enmity (open hostility) between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her [e]Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3: 15 AMP)

It was the protevangelium, the first gospel message in the history of mankind, when the Lord gave His promise about the Savior.  At the time the word was spoken, we didn’t yet exist in this world.  There is no guarantee from ourselves, that we will be a good people and appreciate His sacrifice.  In fact, from centuries to centuries many people actually rejected and mocked Him.  God has known all of that from the beginning.  But, God still loves humans and is willing to die for humans.  How great is God’s love for humans, for us.

We don’t need to prove that we are worthy and deserve to be loved.

We have been loved by God from the beginning.

We have been valuable to God from the beginning.

God’s love for us isn’t based on reasons that comes from within us.  God’s love for us comes from God himself.  So, the reason why God loves us is because He loves us!

The problem is that we often judge ourselves based on the values that others attach to us.  We measure ourselves and others based on certain measurements that we or others consider as important things.  These measures can be physical appearance, branded stuff, type of car, position, intelligence, luxury of the house, the amount of balance in the bank, the number of followers on social media, and various other things that invite admiration from others.  We feel superior when we have something we think is higher than someone else’s, and feel inferior when we feel that what we have is lower than someone else’s.  Finally, we try hard so as not to be looked down on by others.  In fact, when we think like that, actually we are looking down on ourselves.

Even worse, we unconsciously apply the same perspective to God.  We think God will love us more if we are more active in ministry, make more offerings, read God’s words more often, pray longer, try to be more obedient and do things that we think will please God.

Yes, of course . . . Serving God, giving offerings, reading God’s word, praying, trying to obey, and doing things that we think will please God are very good.  But, please don’t do all that with a reverse understanding, which is to be loved by God.  Why?  Because on the cross God has poured out all His love, completely.  His love for us is eternal and perfect.  Again, His eternal and perfect love is given to us when we are still sinful and unworthy to be loved!

There is no Reason to Feel Worthless and Unloved

Now, let’s return for a moment to a beautiful little flower that falls scattered on the ground, which I have told at the beginning of this article.  The flower is flower of the Tamarind tree.  The Tamarind Flower is not the main focus of the Tamarind tree.  This is really different from the Rose, Jasmine, Orchid, Lilly, or other types of flowers that are deliberately planted and cultivated to get the flowers.  What people are looking for from the Tamarind tree is the Tamarind fruit, not the flower.  In fact, in my place, Tamarind leaves are more needed by people than Tamarind flowers.  In addition, the size of the Tamarind flower is extremely small compared the natural height of the Tamarind tree can reach 30 meters, so that the flower is barely exposed, not prominent, and even tends to be ignored.  However, God dressed the little flower with detail and beauty.  It is as if God conveyed His message through the flower, that God cares for and loves all of His creation, and each part has been designed with the best design, not carelessly.

The God who created and dressed the small flower is God who said “it was very good” after He finished creating humans in His own image.  That is what God says about us. Therefore . . . however our face looks, our body shape, our weight, our height, no matter how bad our past is, whatever our educational background, no matter how low our social or economic status. . . Don’t be inferior and feel worthless.  Instead, let us not be arrogant because we feel more beautiful, richer, more educated, more respectable, and so on, because we are all the same!!!

We all have THE SAME PAST, a SINNER!

We are REDEEMED by THE SAME BLOOD, the BLOOD OF JESUS.

We accept THE SAME LOVE, that is the LOVE OF THE FATHER who was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son.

We all DON’T DESERVE to be INSECURE or ARROGANT!

All we have to do is be GRATEFUL.

We should not do good to others to be more blessed by God, but let’s do it because we are grateful for the goodness of God that has been given to us and we long to be His witnesses and glorify His name.  Let us not worship and serve God’s work with the aim of being loved more by God, but let’s do it because we love God who first loved us.

The God who created the whole universe is our Father.  He is a good, planned, and responsible Father.  He works in us in detail and perfect. We aren’t a mass product.  Each of us is created unique, beautiful, special.  So, there is no reason for us to feel worthless and unloved!

The Lord is good to all,

And His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of things created].

All Your works shall give thanks to You and praise You, O Lord,

And Your godly ones will bless You.

(Psalm 145: 9-10 AMP)

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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

A SAFE FEELING IN THE FATHER’S LOVE (guest post)

Today, the awareness of believers to be active in ministry is growing up.  In fact, some positions in ministry become something that is desired and proud of.  Whether we realize it or not, all activities in serving God has taken up a lot of time and energy, and is sometimes seen as more important than God himself.  As a result, many servants of God actually lose something more important and valuable. . . something from which the ministry comes out, that is a personal relationship with the God being served!

How important and valuable something is to us is reflected in how we treat it.

The Lord Jesus illustrated this through three parables in Luke chapter 15.  Jesus gave a parable about sheep, drachma and sons, which was important and valuable in the lives of the Jews at that time.  The number of sheep has indicates the amount of wealth and social rank, the drachma is the wage for one day, and the son is the successor to the descendants who continue the family inheritance.  When these things are gone, the owner will try to find it with all his efforts and will rejoice when he finds it back.

In the parable of the son in Luke 15: 11-32, the Lord Jesus tells the story of the father with his two sons, the younger and the older.  The younger asked for his inheritance, sold it all, then left and squandered his money to waste.  When he fell into poverty and hunger, he remembered his father and decided to go home.  His father, who had been waiting for him, immediately received him back and restored his position unconditionally, even holding a party to celebrate him.  The older was angry because he felt he had spent years to serve his father, work hard and tried to obey every command of his father, but was not heeded.  While his younger brother who acted poorly was welcomed in a special way.

Looking at verses 1 and 2, there are two groups of listeners in this parable.  The first group are tax collectors and sinners who usually come to hear Jesus’ teachings.  The second group are the Pharisees and the scribes.  The Younger is a depiction of tax collectors and sinners, while the older is a description of the scribes and Pharisees, those who feel they have done many things for God, feel they have done the right thing.

These two groups have in common, that is, they are not related to the father.  Naturally, if the younger loses relations with his father.  But what about the older?  How can a person who always stays in his father’s house, obeys orders and works hard in his father’s years, lose intimacy with his father?  It was seen from his reaction when he saw what his father had done to welcome his brother’s return.

“The older brother became ANGRY and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.  Yet you never gave me even A YOUNG GOAT so I could celebrate with my friends.  But when THIS SON OF YOURS who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill THE FATTENED CALF for him!’  (Luke 15: 28-30 NIV)

His first reaction was ANGRY.  He didn’t rejoice together with his father, even calling the younger as ‘THIS SON OF YOURS’, not ‘my brother’.  And, pay attention to the comparison of the words he uses, namely ‘THE FATTENED CALF’, which the father slaughtered for his younger brother, compared to ‘A YOUNG GOAT’ which according to him has never been given by his father to him, even though he has worked hard.  Implied envy and disappointment in his sentences.

Today, the older are people who know many of God’s words, are strict with various religious rules, and may be someone who is active in the ministry in the church, but unconsciously they have lost their personal relationship with the Father.  When we are easily triggered by anger, easily disappointed with God, disappointed with friends in the ministry, jealous of the blessings received by others, begin to measure what the Father should be given by what we have done in ministries, and lose love for others… maybe without us knowing we have lost our personal relationship with Heavenly Father.  Maybe we are the older who lost in the Father’s house.  Now is the time to return the position of our hearts to their proper place, which is in the presence of the Heavenly Father.

A ministry should come from the relationship between the child and Heavenly Father and be filled with the love of Christ.

A service that isn’t sourced from a relationship with Heavenly Father will only be an activity and busyness that will increasingly dry our spirituality.  When this happens, we will begin to calculate our efforts in God’s field and become disappointed when God doesn’t give us what we want.

THE PERFECT LOVE

Back to the parable of the prodigal son.  Does the Father love the younger more than the older, so the Father has a party to celebrate the return of the younger?  Or does the Father love the older because he is an obedient son who serves faithfully in the Father’s field?  The answer to both questions is NO.  The Father’s love is perfect love, not because of what we do or what we don’t, but because He loves us, as we are, even when we are sinners, so that He is willing to give His most precious possession, His Only Son, Jesus Christ.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5: 8 NIV) 

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8: 32 NIV)

We are people who are loved by the Father.  Have “a safe feeling” in the Father’s love.  We must not think that we must “do this and not do that” so that we are more loved by the Father or that the Father will grant our prayers.  Instead, we should not assume that if our prayers are answered, it is because we have served, fasted, did good, and so on.  If the Father blesses or if our prayers are answered, it is because the Father loves us.  And… If the Father doesn’t fulfill our prayers, it’s also because the Father loves us.

Look at the younger.  When the younger back home, the father immediately restores his rights and status as sons and heirs, without the younger having to prove to the father by his actions in advance that he has repented.  There is no guarantee that he will no longer do shameful things to his father.  That is the love of the Father, that is the perfect love, the unconditional love.

A REFLECTION OF LIFE

The younger and the older are both losing relations and intimacy with the Father.  The younger who is a depiction of sinners who have not been saved, or it can also be people who have received salvation but choose to leave God for the sake of the world.  The older who is a depiction of God’s children who actively works in God’s fields and knows many of God’s words, but loses fellowship with the Father and does not know the character of the Father.  What does it mean all the toil in ministry when losing intimacy with the Heavenly Father!

Enthusiastic and active in the ministry is good, but it is really a shame if the busyness in serving God’s work makes us not have enough time to build a personal relationship with God.  We must view building a relationship with Heavenly Father as far more valuable than serving His work, because ministry should come out of intimacy with the Father and come from the love of the Father.

The Father has shown us how valuable and serious the restoration of relationship between Himself and humans is, so that the Father is willing to give Jesus to atone for sins, so that human can fellowship with Him.  Let us respond to the seriousness of the Father with the same attitude of heart, which is to place a personal relationship with Him above all else.  Let’s look at the relationship with the Heavenly Father as something valuable, something that we look forward to, we look for, we maintain, and become our joy.

When we are confronted with all kinds of problems and conditions in this world, let us always remember the high price paid by the Father to restore His relationship with us.  When we want to make a decision in life, let the main factor in our consideration be whether that decision will result in the deterioration of our personal relationship with our Father.  Let’s be Christians and servants of Christ who have a deep personal relationship with the Heavenly Father, know Him, and always feel ‘safe’ in the Father’s love that has been proven in the work of Christ, so that by His grace and by His strength, we can say:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Roma 8: 35, 38-39)

 

AMEN

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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

 

Candle of Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karina – Living by faith

The story is based on a “four candles” poem

Image by poetic of expression

ONLY THROUGH LOVE (guest post)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo credit: Google Images

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Radical Faith

 

radical-faith-karinas-thought

 

A few days ago, by phone, I made a long conversation with my mom. At the end of conversation, she suddenly asked me something, “How’s your faith today, my princess?” Then confidently I answered, “My faith is good. Very good, mom” However, I don’t know why after the conversation, I kept thinking about my answer of my mom’s question. Right now my personal life, Thank you to God, is in very good condition. I’m not currently facing major problems. There’s a question arises in my mind. What if I’m beset by hard problems and trials? Do I still could say my faith is in Good condition and didn’t waver at all? Do I still have big faith when I’m in the lowest point of life and do not go see any way out? Whether my faith remains well maintained when I had to wait for the God’s answer that not been come? Worse, in life and death situation, could I still uphold my faith and not sacrifice it just the safety of my own life?

My beloved readers, once again this’s about faith. I never bored talk about faith. Faith is a substantial thing in the Christian living. As written in Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I always remember when I was teen my mother said: “We must have a radical faith” Initially I was a bit shocked why she use “radical” to describe toughness of our faith.  In my mind “radical” often used for things that has negative meaning and used to describe a dangerous movement of a group or organization. Actually, radical comes from Latin language “radix” which means “root”  The real sense of  radical is something that leads deep into, down to the roots, to the matters of principle, something very fundamental. So if we refer to the true definition, there’s no negative and dangerous meaning. If we associate with faith so it would mean that radical faith is faith that rooted to the deepest in our life, comes out from the inside and become a strong foundation in all aspects of our lives, a faith that isn’t easily shaken by any kind of threats. This evening I would like to take a bible story that (for me) could be as a great example of radical faith. Let’s take a look to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were bravely against king’s command.

The story begins when the king Nebuchadnezzar made sixty cubit height and six cubits width of an image of gold (Daniel 3:1) He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. (Daniel 3:2) Through the herald, Nebuchadnezzar commanded all nations and peoples of every language should fall down and worship the image of gold when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music. The consequence to those who not obey the command will be thrown into a blazing furnace. (Daniel 3: 4-6) This was a serious and terrible threat and punishment. I believe at the time nobody dared to defy the king’s command and didn’t want to die in vain in the furnace. But among the people, these three young men bravely fight against Nebuchadnezzar’s command. At the very moment, they were brought before the king and said to them, “… if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (Daniel 3:15)

What was their reaction of the king’s threat?  They gave a radical reaction. They said:

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”(Daniel 3: 17-18)

My dear readers, my heart trembled when pondering the answer of these three men. This wasn’t a recklessly or carelessly answer. There’s something very powerful underlies their answers.  There’s something very strong rooted in their heart and mind. I separate their response become two important things.  First, they showed their unswerving conviction to God. They strongly believed that God will save them from the blazing furnace. They had very strong confidence in God who is who He says He is, and will do what He says. Their answer showed that their faith to God has been deeply rooted and too strong to be shaken even by life threats. They showed a faith that strongly depends on the extraordinary power to deliver them from the death.

The second, they remain hardened their hearts to disobey the king’s order even if God doesn’t deliver them and it means they will face the death in the blazing furnace. Once again, they marvelously showed that their root of faith was so strong embedded in their lives so that they were willing to dead as long as not worshiping the image of gold of the king. They didn’t want to sacrifice their conviction and faith solely for the sake of their safety instead they even are willing to sacrifice their own life. Actually, if they follow their lust of the flesh, they obey the king’s command to worship the image of gold then they ask forgiveness to God. What matters is they free from the horrible death. But they completely realize this wasn’t a matter of apologize and forgiveness. This was a matter of fundamental thing that cannot negotiable. This was about faith to God! Once they worship the image of gold it means they have been sacrificing their faith just for the sake of their own safety and there was a tendency they didn’t believe that God will save them from the death. Also because they realize that God loves them so much and they really love God so they still refused to abandon God to worship the king’s gods. This’s a perfect example of radical faith. A faith that deeply rooted and become a foundation, not only focused on the blessings and help of God alone.

After got the answer of these three young men, with furious, Nebuchadnezzar ordered to burn them with fire seventh time hotter than usual (Daniel 3:19) But what happened? Nebuchadnezzar was astonished that the fire didn’t consume these three men. He was even more amazed when he saw not three, but a fourth person with them: “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25 NKJV)

I would ask all of us to ponder these things. If we have the same problem like these three brave men, what we will do? What about our faith? Could we have faith like them? Will we put our faith more than anything else in a precarious situation? Further, could we sacrifice and face the threat of death for the sake of our faith in Christ? It was true they were directly experienced God’s miracle. But once again please consider their radical response, that, even if God decides to not save them, their faith will not be sacrificed.

My beloved friends, in this wonderful Christmas season, please allow me to encourage all of us to make this Christmas as a momentum to renew our faith quality. Let’s make more effort to build radical faith in our lives. Ask to God to always increase our faith like the apostles said in Luke 17:5, “Increase our faith”  Let’s give a very serious attention to the growth of our faith that could totally believe without seeing our circumstances, also never loose of hope. We will never know what will be happen next year. We all know that life isn’t so easy. There’s time God allows trials and difficulties in our lives and God also doesn’t always guarantee that we’ll never suffer or experience death; we may not always understand the purpose of our trials. Let’s accept and live it as a maturing process of our faith. We also have to always remember if God had become the fourth man standing beside Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; it means there’s a firm guarantees God also always standing beside us. Maybe this time we’re in very bad situation, maybe we’re in the lowest point of life; maybe this time we experienced suffering and “fiery persecution” and our faith being tested.  Once again I encourage all of us to always remember that there are assurances from God:

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20), He shall sustain us (Psalm 55:22), He will uphold, strengthen, and help us (Isaiah 41:10)

When God’s help hasn’t come to us, don’t be hasty to doubt God’s ability, much less doubt His existence. God has wonderful plan that give us peace, not evil, and give us future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and we have to remember that everything coming down from our Father is very good and perfect gifts. (James 1:17) If we haven’t got answers from God, don’t despair; still hold God’s promise with radical faith. Not matter there’s blessing, help, and miracle or not, our faith in God mustn’t waver at all. When we experiencing illness, persecution, oppression and all of that might require us to sacrifice our own lives, please always remember that, it’s not the end of our lives. There is life after death. God promises an eternal home to all those who love and obey Him. Jesus Said: “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23)

Let’s celebrate this Christmas not only with party but also by reforming our faith quality so we would have a radical faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Have faith that remains rooted in God, have genuine faith that much more than precious gold (1Peter 1:7). Completely surrender to believe in God’s decision not because of what He can do but simply because we love Him wholeheartedly. Amen

My beloved readers, this post will be my last post this year. I will come back next year. I, my husband, and our little son Andrew say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” to all of you. Hope and pray that all of you will experience wonderful and unforgettable holiday season this year. God bless you.

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: Google images

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)