Tag Archive | repentance

Rejoice Within Suffering

 

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

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

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

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

And in his final exhortation to the Philippians,

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

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

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

(Philippians 3:10-11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karina – Living by faith

*) Quote from Dwight L Moody

Image source: Renfrew Christian Fellowship

BE PREPARE (Guest Post)

BE PREPAREThursday, July 7, 2016 was the fourth day of our vacation in The Bali Island. When the three us of stay in a hotel room, in the morning when I am still asleep vaguely I heard long ringing mingled with my mother’s voice that tried to wake me up. She asked me, “What was that sound? Quite been long time they sounding? Moreover, why at the out of the room very crowded.” I opened my eyes and within seconds, I woke up and gasped. It was the fire alarm!

The alarm continually shrilled. I opened the door and saw some of guests’ hotel still wearing night robe together with their children running down to the emergency stairs while carrying their bags. Incidentally, the emergency stairs was very close with our room.

I immediately yelled to my husband who apparently has been in the bathroom before the alarm rang. It turns out he could not heard the alarm sound and he did not know what was going on.

Instantly we were panic, especially to me. I did not wear contact lens and had no time again to take my eyeglasses that still stored in my suitcase. I could not see anything clearly where my slippers, bags, and so on. Meanwhile, my husband rushed to checking the presence of his parents who stay in the other room on the same floor.

Without fully dressed and just wearing nightshirt, the three of us runs out of the room carrying a handbag containing some of important things. It was a truly unimaginable situation yet now we experienced it.

Outside of the room, my husband saw a few the rests of hotel guests overrun a hotel security that was pounding on the one of the room door that not too far from us. Evidently the smoke from that room triggered the fire alarm. Although the hotel management already made a bans to not smoking in the hotel room but the guest of the room did not conform the bans. The fire did not occurs but the irresponsible action have caused many people panic.

The thrilling event was end but to be honest we still had misgivings. Therefore, we decided to bring some important stuff when we went to breakfast. Usually we always put our bags and other stuff in the hotel room. Maybe because we were still tense, we were thinking that it was a good idea we are be on the alert and be ready so that if anytime there is a fire we could run out very soon. A calamity will not waiting. It is us who have to scurry no matter how and whatever the situation.

At the time, I remembered Jesus’ word:

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24: 37-39 NKJV)

The verses above are Jesus’ teaching about the end of the time and advice to keep watch for the Lord Jesus will come in the unpredictable time. However, right now I am not talking specifically talking about the second coming and the rapture. I just wanted to remind that by the same way, the same “sudden situation”, we would confront to the last second of our lives. We cannot know exactly when the time comes, where, and how. The important thing we have to know is ready or not, everyone should and certainly deal with it!

 

THE GOD’S GOODNESS

In the days of Noah, God patiently waiting when Noah was preparing the ark before the flood hit (1Peter 3:20). God patiently awaits the people repent. Surely there is enough time for everyone to repent at the time, but they wasted it until they should to perish.

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4 NKJV)

As long the earth still there, God still gives a chance for people to get salvation. Everybody has a lifetime to repent. In the time span, the Lord speaks and expresses His great love through His church and His messengers (Prophets, apostles, preachers, friends, relatives, business mate, etc.)  Also through the many events that happened in human lives.

So how about us, who have received the grace of salvation? We have to prepare ourselves to meet Him face to face. We have a duty responsibility that is continue to live in repentance, being faithful servant, and become an executor of His Great Commission.

 

KEEP LIVING IN REPENTANCE

The Lord Jesus has redeemed us from the old life of sin. We have moved from eternal death to eternal life. If earlier we are living under the curse of sin, now we live in grace and become a new creation in Christ.

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1 NKJV)

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (Romans 6:11-12 NKJV)

So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. (Colossians 3:5-6 NET)

We must be consistent to continue to live in repentance and not return to our old life. We are still able to fall into sin, but we should not continue to live in sin! As David immediately repented of his mistake when rebuked by the prophet Nathan, so we must to repent every time we fall into sin. We must continue to live in holiness so that we do not squander the God’s grace.

 

BEING A FAITHFUL SERVANT

In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 and minas in Luke 19:12-27, God gives an overview to us that He is the Lord who entrusted His property to His servants, and someday He will hold their responsibility.

For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. (Matthew 25:14 NET)

Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ (Luke 19:12-13 NKJV)

We will never being a faithful servant if we aren’t willing to humble ourselves because arrogant people will not be willing to be a servant. A minister manner will be born only from lowliness.

To serve God doesn’t talk about activities but rather to the heart that have willingness to obey and faithful to every of His will and command. If we are faithful servant so our priority is no longer “ourselves” but God.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24 NKJV)

Everything named “I am” i.e. my dignity, my behalf, my benefit, my happiness, my will, and the other “I am” must not rule over us again. We must deny ourselves so that God totally become our Lord. Thus, we can devote our whole lives to be a faithful servant who can be trusted by the Lord.

Whatever the form, and regardless of the amount, the Lord has entrusted His possessions to each of us, His servant. It can be a wealth of expertise, intelligence, skill, and so forth. Our job is to manage and develop assets that already entrusted by God.

If today you are a leader of a cell group with members of a few people, do the job faithfully and wholeheartedly. Make sure they grow well in your grazing. They are a treasure entrusted by God to you.

If you have a marketing ability, then use it properly to bless the company where you work. Be an example to your peers.

All the “investment” which God has planted in our lives is to equip us so that we can complete all the tasks and calls. Continue to live in it with full responsibility and faithful. If we remain faithful, the Lord will take us to the higher position and entrust us the greater responsibility. And the biggest wage of the servants is when their lord said: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:23 NKJV)

 

IMPLEMENTING THE GREAT COMMISSION

BIGGEST TREASURE God entrusted to us is the secret of the Kingdom of God that already revealed through the death and resurrection of Jesus, which GOSPEL SALVATION. We have a noble mission to preach the gospel in all the nations according to the GREAT COMMISSION.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)

The Great Commission is not just the task of evangelists and pastors, but the duty of everyone who had been saved. If we are Disciples of Christ, we must actively move to reach others. We can do many things such as sharing tracts, testify directly, praying for the others salvation, as well as being light and witness to Christ in every area of our lives.

 

Let us always check and recheck our hearts and lives. Do not be fooled by the religious activities that we do. Make sure that we remain on the right track while doing all our duties in faithfulness. Do not shy away from God’s presence because we cannot do anything when we apart of Him. Always maintain our relationship with God, knowing Him and understanding His will in our lives.  Ask the Holy Spirit certainly help us, shape us, strengthen us, so that we later found ready to meet with our Savior, face to face.

 

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Image Source: Google Images (edit with Pixlr App)

 

A Prayer of Repentance

We come to you, Lord,
knowing that you love us
no matter of what.

That’s why we dare to come to you,
knowing that you will help us.
We put our hearts and souls in your hand.

Generous in love—God, give grace!
    Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
    soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
    my sins are staring me down.
(Psalm 51:1-3, MSG)

We ask for grace to open our eyes to see all our transgressions.
Show us how we nailed Jesus on the cross.

We ask grace to see our sinfulness and desire repentance.
Show us how we made Jesus to suffer.

We ask grace to see our rottenness and yearn to be made whole.
Show us how we grieve you over and over again.

We ask grace to illuminate our mind to see your will for us.
Show us the way to true life in Jesus.

You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
    it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
    whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
    in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
    Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
(Psalm 51:4-6, MSG)

We repent, Lord, forgive us!
Pour out grace upon grace, Lord!
Do whatever you want with us,
just don’t  leave us as we are!

Pour out faith upon faith, Lord!
Redeem, restore, renew!
Get rid of anything and everything unholy!

Pour out hope upon hope, Lord!
Fill us with your Spirit!
Pour out joy upon joy, Lord!
Let us feel your presence!

Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
    scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
    set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
    give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
    shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
    or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
    put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
    so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
    and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
    I’ll let loose with your praise.
(Psalm 51:7-15, MSG)

Thank you for not giving up on us,
even when we’d deserve it.
Thank you for saving us, Lord!
What glorious plans you have for us!
Empower us to follow your leading.

Thank you for loving us so dearly,
especially when we most need it.
What measures you take to care for us!
Thank you for working in us, for us.
Grant us the grace to become holy like you
and follow you all of our days.
In Jesus’ precious name we pray,
Amen

Author :  Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

http://www.flowingfaith.com