Tag Archive | salvation

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

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THE CHANGE-MAKER (guest post)

God has the great project of salvation over the world. From time to time, God always calls and chooses people to be the ambassadors of His Kingdom. Those who are willing and credible to carry out the holy mandate of Heaven, that even powerful to save one nation. Not by working alone, but working together until “the baton” be accepted and continued by the next generation. If you and I are be there in it, what will we do for our generation? And what spiritual legacy that we will leave for future generations?

Moses, Samuel, and Manasseh, are three figures from different generation who are ON STRATEGIC POSITION TO MAKE CHANGES for the nation in their time. Yet there was a moment in the journey of the kingdom of Judah, where God mentioned their names in the statement: “Even if MOSES and SAMUEL were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go!….. I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,…..because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 15:1-4 NIV)

What had been done by Manasseh that made God so angry so that He said Moses and Samuel was not going to be able to mollify His heart??

 

FORGETTING AND MAKING FORGET

The meaning of Manasseh is “someone who forgetting” or “someone who makes us to forget”. There are at least two prominent figures named Manasseh in the Old Testament. The first Manasseh was Joseph’s son that born in Egypt. The second Manasseh was the 14th king of Judah (696-642 BC), the son of King Hezekiah.

The first Manasseh became consolation for his father:  Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh  and said, “It is because GOD HAS MADE ME FORGET ALL MY TROUBLE and all my father’s household.” (Genesis 41:51 NIV)

The second Manasseh, the king of Judah, made the people he led to forget God. He overturned all the spiritual and repentant reforms that his father had committed: “For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed;…..” (2 Kings 21:3 AMP) 

Manasseh’s history and all the sins he committed during his 55 years of rule were written in 2 Kings 21: 1-18 and 2 Chronicles 33: 1-20. He built altars for Baal and set up an Ashera pole. He bowed down to all the starry hosts, worshiped them, and built altars for them in the court of the temple of the Lord. He practiced various forms of occultism, even he burned his own sons in a sacrificial rite in the valley of Ben-hinnom.

“…..He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger……Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites……Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins. He has done more evil than the Amorites who preceded him and has led Judah into sin with his idols…..he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (2 Kings 21:6-16 NIV)

With all of his power and influence, Manasseh has made his people to forget God and led them into a severe apostasy! So severely, that sin and its effects were passed down through generations!

Ultimately Manasseh did repent. He even called on his people to return to worship God: “In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; …..Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God…..Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings  and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.” (2 Chronicles 33:12-17 NIV). But because sin had dominated all areas of Judah’s life, so Manasseh’s repentance and appeal was not enough to restore their whole hearts to God immediately.

Let us return to Jeremiah 15:1-4 “Even if MOSES and SAMUEL were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people…..because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 15:1-4 NIV). Verily, God said it word to the prophet Jeremiah was not in Manasseh’s time alive, but some descendants after Manasseh died. Even though Manasseh has gone but his sin still has an impact on the life of the people he led! Then what about Moses and Samuel?

 

PRAY FOR NATION

“Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them.” (Psalms 99:6 NKJV) 

Moses and Samuel were two great intercessors who in the past have always prayed to God for the salvation of the Israelites. In Exodus 32:11, 32 Moses pleaded for forgiveness to the Israelites when God wanted to punish them for making a gold calf: But MOSES SOUGHT THE FAVOR OF THE LORD HIS GOD…”..But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”

God answered his prayer: In accordance with your great love, FORGIVE THE SIN OF THESE PEOPLE,…..The Lord replied, “I HAVE FORGIVEN THEM, AS YOU ASKED.” (Numbers 14:19-20 NIV)

So it is with Samuel. When Israel was deeply distressed by the Philistine occupation, they asked Samuel to pray: “Do not stop crying out to the Lord our God for us,…..” Then Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it up as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. HE CRIED OUT TO THE LORD on Israel’s behalf, and THE LORD ANSWERED HIM. (1 Samuel 7:8-9 NIV)

In some instances when God was very angry and wanted to punish Israel, several times Moses and Samuel besought to the Lord and He heard them. So imagine how magnitude and severity of Manasseh’s sins until God said that Moses and Samuel will not be able to change His decision to punish Judah!

 

SALVATION OR DESTRUCTION

Moses, Samuel, and King Manasseh, are the people who are in a strategic position to make a change for their nation. Moses led Israel out of Egypt to the land of Canaan. Samuel was the last judge before Israel entered the era of kings. Samuel also anointed Saul and David to be king. During his priesthood, Samuel was committed to bringing Israel to life in truth: “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.” (1 Samuel 12:23 NKJV)

In contrast to Moses and Samuel who prayed and brought salvation to his people, the king of Manasseh brought his people to destruction. So what is our current role, does our life make other people change in the right direction or vice versa ?!

 

A CHOICE THAT CHANGE THE WORLD

Being like Moses and Samuel or like King Manasseh, it all depends on our choices. I believe that none of us would deliberately choose to be like king Manasseh. But we can make mistakes without we realize. Therefore we must be very careful in everything to avoid becoming a stumbling block or causing a person to fall into sin. We must be wise, especially when we are in a position with authority to make important decisions which it decisions will affect the lives of many people we lead. Remember, more higher our position then more greater and wider the impact we make.

If we choose to be a change-maker who leads others to salvation, then we must return to the breath of Christian life that is intimate fellowship with God as the lifestyle of Moses and Samuel.

Moses was close to God like a friend: “So the Lord spoke to Moses FACE TO FACE, AS A MAN SPEAKS TO HIS FRIEND…..” (Exodus 33:11a NKJV)

Samuel knew God so he acted according to the heart and mind of God: “Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest WHO SHALL DO ACCORDING TO WHAT IS IN MY HEART AND IN MY MIND. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.” (1 Samuel 2:35 NKJV)

If we become more intimate with God, we will to know Him more and change more and more like Him. The way we see the world, our love for our neighbor, our vision and our mission, all will be more in tune with His heart. If we always abide in Him then our lives will bear fruit for His glory. His power working within and through us, and will make us His effective tool for rescue souls and transforming the world.

Become a change-maker that transforms the world! Does it sound too grandiose? No! Because it is not by our own strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Are only certain people that God can use? No, because God can use anyone who surrender and obey Him!

In large or small scope, God entrusts us with a mission: that is to save souls. One nation, one city, one family, or one man, all valuable in the heart of God. The change of one’s life is very meaningful because it will have an impact on the lives of others. Housewives, employees, entrepreneurs, students, laborers, artists, and so on, have the responsibility of making changes in accordance with our respective portions and positions. No matter how small our steps in God’s will, it will have an impact on the “world” around us.

We are a part of God’s “team”, which is composed of believers from all era. People who do God’s will and work their part in obedience and faithfulness until the end of their lives. From time to time, generation after generation, will complement each other until the whole of God’s plan is fulfilled.

Let us always stay in God’s love and choose to live righteously, and deliberately direct our lives to His will so that we can be used by Him to change the world around us. Nothing is impossible for Him. We just have to continue living in intimacy with Him, trusting, and giving our lives to do His will till the end.

Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images (the text edited with pixlr app)

Crazy Thing Called…LOVE

CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE -KARINA'S THOUGHT

There is an interesting song I found when my husband watching a video concert of Michael Buble. The song titled “Crazy little thing called love” That song says that love is a crazy thing. Well, I do agree and disagree. I do agree that love is a crazy thing because there is an incredible power behind the love. Love could change something impossible become possible. Love can move our heart to do any crazy things. Love can make us willing to do unreasonable things, or we might even be willing to sacrifice and be ready to die for the sake of someone we love. Love has a crazy power that’s able to break the wall of difference and unify the humankind diversity. Love makes the world go around! I am disagreeing if it is said in the song that love is a little thing! Love is a great thing! There is love quote said: A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love. Yes! That’s so true! We cannot live without love. Love has become an important aspect in human lives. There’s always a love in every side of our lives regardless of its form. My sister in Christ and blog friend Deborah Ann beautifully said in her poem: “When there is light, there is love. When there is hope, there is love. When there is happiness, there is love. When there is forgiveness, there is love…”

I always remember the story of Jacob and Rachel. For me their story was a very romantic love story. Jacob felt in love to Rachel and willing work to Laban for seven years to get Rachel. (Genesis 29:18 NIV) There is an interesting thing here. Seven years wasn’t a short time, but for Jacob it seemed like only a few days. Why Jacob could feel like that? Because Jacob really loves Rachel! Love be able to make time goes by so fast!

So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. (Genesis 29:20 NIV)

 Is the story end? No! Apparently, because there was a custom that the older daughter should get married first, then Jacob should to marry Rachel’s older sister, Leah. What was Jacob’s reaction? He was angry, disappointed, and refused to marry Leah? No! Jacob was willing to marry Leah and He had to work for seven years more. (Genesis 29:26-27 NIV) See? Jacob was able to do something that actually wasn’t wanted to do. He willingly married to someone who he didn’t love in order to could marry Rachel that he loved very much. Why Jacob could did like that? Once again, the answer is because love. Jacob really loves Rachel! Oh how deep and great the value of Jacob’s love to Rachel.

My dear friends, if for human the value of love was so great, so does the love’s value for God, even more than human. God is a figure who full of love. God is love! The way He loves us is an innumerable, amazing and very surprising! There was an indisputable proof about how great and marvelous His love to us. Written in very famous verse:

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

An astonishing missions performed by Jesus who down into the world, taking the form of a servant, and was willing to underwent all with obedient, treated with inhumane unto death on the Cross. If we as the father then see our child experiencing all this for a purpose, whatever it is, what do we feel? I am unable to imagine what we feel as the father. But God still chose to allow His only begotten Son just for us so we all do not perish, but have eternal life. He did it all in order to save us from death, moving us to get into the salvation. Isn’t that amazing? Definitely, yes! A question arises, what we have done to God so that God was willing to do all that. If we’ve did amazing and extraordinary things so that God indebted to us? Absolutely no! In fact we did the opposite; we more often hurt and disappointed Him with our deeds that are contrary to His will. In fact we didn’t deserve all that has been done by God. But once again, God still decided to did an amazing thing for us. Not just a little thing, but an extraordinary thing! Why God was willing to do all that? What the power that was able to move God to take this astonishing decision? The one and only answer is: Love! For God so loved…! That’s a power called love, a great thing called love!

That’s why I don’t agree if love defined as a little thing. If we read and looking for quintessence of the entire Bible contents, then we will get love as the quintessence. It all comes down to Love. Paul remains us that love is the greatest.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

And the love became the first commandment as Jesus said:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37- 40 NIV)

If God so loved us, what about us today?  How deep and great our love to Him? How the quality of our personal relationship with God? Whether we felt the same way as Jacob? We always feel time is running so fast when we are in fellowship with Him and always feel our time is too short to express our gratitude for the all blessing that have been given to us? Or conversely, we feel so long and get bored when just for one hour we listening God speaks to us through the pastor’s sermon? Whether in our daily lives we have to apply the law of love to our fellow? How far we implement those verses above? Very ironic if God has said to love our neighbor as ourselves but the fact we are more love ourselves and don’t even care about our neighbor. Our lives instead filled with hatred, envy, arrogance, oppression, egoism, and so on. God has said firmly:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8 NIV)

My dear friends, today as always I encourage all of us once again think and ponder how great our love’s value to our neighbor and especially to God our Father. Let’s take a moment to ponder everything that has done by God to us. God has poured out his love through the Holy Spirit. Please remember, has been poured out! Not will be poured or hopefully God willing to pour out! This means that there is a seed of love which has been embedded in our hearts. Let us continue to cultivate the seeds of love that has been in our hearts in order to continue to grow well so that every deed in our lives is always based on love.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5 NIV)

  And God has first amazingly loved us by died on the cross while we were still sinners.

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

Furthermore, because He loves us, He adopted us as His child according His pleasure and will.

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:5-6 NIV)

If because of love God has done so many wonderful things for us, now what we will do for Him? If our earthly father so loved us, what we will do to him? I am definitely sure we will really love him even trying to love him more. We will always trying to not hurt, make him sad, and disappointing him. We will always do everything the best for him. So it is with our Heavenly Father! God longs for us to love Him and do the best for Him. God doesn’t say: “Give to me your one and only child” as a proof of our love to Him. God just wants us love Him with our heart, soul, mind. He just wants us always living in His righteousness, obedient to His command, please Him, and always glorifies Him in every step of our lives. God also wants us love our neighbor. It is simple, right? But in fact we have to admit that it is not as simple as that. Whether we could still love those who have hurt us? Whereas God said to us:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44 NIV)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7 NIV)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 NIV)

We would not be able to do all that if only rely on our own strength. Therefore, let’s ask  for strength to God through prayer, let the Holy Spirit always strengthen us to continue cultivate the seed of love that has been poured out into our heart and eventually people will see that in every of our deed always radiate the God’s true and perfect love. Let people know that through the crazy thing called love we could bring joy, peace, happiness, and goodness into this world. Amen.

Karina – Living by faith

Related article : Love the Lord and Love your neighbor as Yourself by Mark Shields

Special thanks to Deborah Ann for your beautiful poem.

To read the original poem “When there is Love” please click here

Love Quote by Max Muller from BrainyQuote.com

Image source: wallpaperbuzz.com

Planting Seeds of Christ

Planting seeds of ChristPlanting seeds of Christ is a powerful way of serving the Lord. Sometimes the simple things in life are where it begins, like a friendly smile to someone who you pass on the street. Planting seeds doesn’t mean we have to be pushy or loud when we share God’s love. We might be given a hundred opportunities in one single day to plant a seed of God’s love, sadly sometimes we miss out, we don’t slow down for the opportunity or we don’t see it.

There are far too many lost souls living in this broken world that crave for the truth, and desire something more in their life but can’t put their finger on it. What they need is Jesus! What they need are Christ followers to serve God through planting seeds of His love. This job doesn’t require a degree, the ability to write an essay, or meet a certain age requirement, it requires believers to teach God’s love through actions and sometimes words.

Maybe that person you smiled at walking by needed to feel loved and noticed, to them that smile spoke a thousand words, to you it took no extra time out of your busy day. There are so many people who need Jesus but don’t know Him, but the reality is, planting ONE seed can multiply. In other words focusing on one person who you know or don’t know can multiply and spread to the many who are lost.

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up. (Romans 14:17-19)

The other day I was sitting on my porch and I pulled off one of the buds to my Lily bush. I don’t know much about gardening but what I have learned about this particular bush is it spreads quickly. So in my curiosity I opened the bud and counted how many seeds were in just that one bud, twenty eight seeds, doing a quick calculation there would have easily been over 1000 seeds from that one bush. That just amazed me as I related it to planting one seed of God’s love and how it can multiply.

We can make a difference in this broken world by planting seeds of God’s love. Yes one person can bring many to God, leading them to salvation. So next time we see someone struggling with opening a door, or drops something because their hands are full, see it as an opportunity to serve, because what we do to others we are doing to Christ. Wouldn’t you open the door for Jesus if His hands were full? It should be no different for anyone else. I encourage you to start small by becoming more aware of the people around you at work, the mall, even at home, some of them just might be needing what you can give.

The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
(Matthew 13: 22-24)

Sent by Kimberly Gow. Founder of Young Christian Career Woman Fellowship

Photo credit: http://www.grit.com

Christ in You

Christ in You 2

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me.
(Galatians 2:20)

Christ is not a second personality or power, to come along to reinforce us, to vivify us, to strengthen us, for us to use in life and in service, and that He should make us something. That is not the thought, and that is not the angle of Scripture at all. And yet, how almost universally, perhaps largely unconsciously, that is what is happening.

Christians want to be made something, even as Christians; and Christian workers and the Lord’s servants, though perhaps unwittingly, want to be made something as workers; and they want Christ to reinforce them, come behind them, and make them something as His servants and in His service.

That whole system of things is diametrically opposite to the truth. The truth is that Christ shall be All, and that we decrease that He may increase; that He should be the primary Personality, and that the impact and registration of any life and any service should not be: “What a good man he was!” or “What a good woman she is!” or “What a fine worker!” but: “What a presence of Christ! What a testimony to Christ! What an expression of Christ! What a sense of Christ! What a reality of Christ!”

Are our hearts set upon God having that which is wholly of Himself? That means “I” crucified! No longer I, but Christ! And that means that Christ in us is the basis of our conformity to His image, until we partake with Him of His own nature – pure gold. It is something to face seriously before Him. It brings to us a challenge, but surely it also brings to us a glorious possibility! What Christ is can be made good in us!

Knowing JesusYoung Christian Woman Career Fellowship

Photo credit: http://www.steptochrist.us

 

By His Wound We are Healed

By his wound

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”(Matthew 26:39)

Bible verse above is the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane before He was arrested. We all know that is the beginning of the series of Jesus’ suffering. Jesus will experience so many heavy suffering in order to fulfill God’s will. Jesus was willing to commit all that just for us. Supposed we are the ones who receive it all, but it was Jesus who replace all our sins and redeem with His sacrifice. When the first time I studied on this passage, there is a question in my mind. Why Jesus willing to do all of this? After I learn more deeply I got two answer of my question.

First, Jesus strongly adheres to His Father will. It is implied in His word:” Yet as I will, but as you will” this word describes Jesus’ obedience to Father in Heaven. In His position as a man, Jesus felt scared and if could, He doesn’t want to take the suffering. It reflected in His words: “If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” But because His obedience, He submit all to the God’s Hand.

The second answer is, it all started from how much God’s love to us as He said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus loves us so much, and He knows very well how great the love of the Father for us, and for that He would through a series of terrible processes in order to fulfill the work of salvation according to the Father’s will  which is given to everyone.

Moreover, it has been prophesied by Isaiah: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”(Isaiah 53:5-6) and also in Isaiah 53:12:“Therefore I will give him a portion among the great and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

That’s what Jesus did. He took over completely and perfectly fulfills God’s will. Loud screams could be heard from the cross: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (Which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) A scream that describes the incredible loneliness. Jesus nailed to the middle of the cross, alone; bear the weight of so much our sin. Then at last a loud cry comes next just before Jesus died: It is finished.”(John 19:30). It means that all that has been prophesied is fulfilled by Jesus.

My dear friends, this evening, let’s we take a special time to give thanks and heartfelt gratitude for all the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for all of us. Today if we can go to the pure and holy throne of God without fear, if we could hear his voice and feel His presence this time, all of it is the fruit of Christ’s redemptive work. When people give a special gift to us, it means that people love and care for us. Same as our Lord. He gives us very, very special gift.That’s the greatest gift, there’s no greater love than this. Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away our sins. Jesus has completed a series of Father’s will with thoroughly and perfect, so we were supposed to perish now been granted of the eternal salvation. And then make sure to avoid all of Christ’s sacrifice be in vain upon us. Living in Divine truth, be faithful to Him and manifest His love significantly with proclaim god’s love to others. Amen.

“And by his wounds we are healed.” ( Isaiah 53:5)

Karina

Photo credit: sodahead.com

The Ticket

ticket to heaven

There was a certain man who had worked all his life and was ready for a vacation. He wanted to go to a faraway place he had never been before. He thought to himself; you are a good person, you’ve helped the poor and took care of the needy. So you deserve this trip.

He went to the airport and got in line to get on the plane. In his mind, he felt no need to buy a ticket because of all the great things he has done for people in his lifetime. He thought he had earned this trip. As the line got closer and closer to board the plane, he grew more and more
anxious to start enjoying himself on his journey.

It came his turn to pass his ticket in and to the amazement of the ticket collector; he told her he didn’t have a ticket because he deserved a free trip. He went on to explain what a good person he was, and how he never hurt anyone or caused anyone any sort of pain, but the ticket collector told him, “you still need a ticket sir”

He told her “I have never stolen from anyone, nor cheated anyone in all my life”, but still she stood firm and insisted he could not board the plane unless a ticket was given to her.

He said “I have given money to the poor and fed the needy”, but still not being moved the ticket collector said if you want to get on this plane you have to have a ticket. No exceptions.

The man was shocked. He walked away with his head held down low and thought to himself, “I figured if I was a good person, who never hurt anyone and took care of other people, surely I would be able to get a free ride on the plane, but I guess I was wrong”.

That is what some people think of Heaven. They think if they are good people, who never hurt anyone and take care of others, they will get a free ride into Heaven. But the Bible declares in Ephesians 2: 8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Salvation is a free gift through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. No man can buy his way into Heaven, but Jesus came down to Earth in His own free will to give us Eternal Life. All we have to do is trust Him by Faith and accept Him into our heart as our Personal Lord and Savior. He has bought our ticket on the cross, but it is up to you to claim it.

“And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24)

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

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

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Dwayne Savaya – Bible verse added by Karina

Photo credit: chexee.me