Tag Archive | strength

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)

EXPERIENCE GOD PERSONALLY (guest post)

Hello my dear readers, my  guest post this time that written by Sella Irene still talk about “The man of faith”, Abraham. She wrote not just focused to Abraham, but he focus to Abraham’s faithful servant, Eliezer. There is a faith quality comparison between Eliezer with his master, Abraham.  I hope and pray that this guest post will become a blessing to all us.

 EXPERIENCE GOD PERSONALLY

There were some names of Eliezer in the Bible. The one was Eliezer from Damascus,  Abraham’s servant, the elder of his house and entrusted to rule over all that he had (Genesis 24:2). Just because Abraham didn’t have a child then he intended to take Eliezer as his heir, until finally God gave Isaac the biological son of Abraham, who later became a great nation in accordance with God’s plan (Genesis 15:2-5) But Eliezer was a good servant. Though he knew that he no longer become of Abraham’s heir, he was remaining comply and totally devoted to Abraham, his master.

One day Abraham asked Eliezer to finding a wife for Isaac. The story begin when Abraham asked Eliezer to swear: “…….Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, AMONG WHOM I DWELL; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:2-4 NKJV)

Eliezer hold firm his vow and run his task with full of responsibility. He came back with Rebekah, a wife for Isaac. No doubt Eliezer was a faithful servant and trusted servant. But let’s take a look to the other side of him, while looking at ourselves as well.

The detail of Eliezer trip to find a wife for Isaac was written in Genesis 24. We will take a look two things in this passage. The 1st thing is about heart attitude of Eliezer before God. The 2nd thing is about the difference between Abraham and Eliezer in looking to the Promise Land, Canaan.

Let’s have a look to the 1st thing:

BELIEVE BUT DON’T BELIEVE

Eliezer was starting his duty with a prayer for help and special sign from God:  “O LORD GOD OF MY MASTER ABRAHAM, please give me success this day……. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.” (Genesis 24:12-14 NKJV)

After God granted his request, this was what he did: Then the man bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord. And he said, “Blessed be THE LORD GOD OF MY MASTER ABRAHAM, who has not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master……”(Genesis 24:26-27 NKJV)

Notice that in every of his prayer Eliezer always said: ”LORD GOD OF MY MASTER ABRAHAM.” Happened the same thing when with full of grateful he told his trip to Rebekah’s family in verse 42: “And this day I came to the well and said, ‘O LORD GOD OF MY MASTER ABRAHAM, if You will now prosper the way in which I go”  Also in verse 48: “And I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed THE LORD GOD OF MY MASTER ABRAHAM, who had led me…….”

Whether Eliezer worshiped God? YES! Is he also recognizes The God’s greatness? YES! But he didn’t really made God as his God personally.

Eliezer lived with Abraham for many years. He saw Abraham didn’t have anything until blessed by God. He also saw how God did many miracles in Abraham’s life: “The Lord has blessed my master greatly, and he has become great…..And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old…..” (Genesis 24: 35-36). But every God’s work that he saw didn’t make him recognize God as his own God. Otherwise, (allow me to talk a bit about Ruth) Ruth saw Naomi’s family since they rich until have nothing, but Ruth indeed wholehearted recognized Naomi’s God as her own God: “…..Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16).

Did Eliezer trust to God? YES! Did he trust that the God of Abraham is the mighty God? YES! That is why he prayed. He believed God because he saw how God made miracles in Abraham life. But this time he prayed by himself, not Abraham.

Let’s take a look what Eliezer did after he pray: “And the man, wondering at her, remained silent so as to know whether the Lord had made his journey PROSPEROUS OR NOT.” (Genesis 24:21 NKJV)  He wasn’t totally believed that God will answer his own prayer. This was an act that wasn’t being in accordance with Faith principles: “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24 NKJV)

Like Eliezer, many people follow Jesus but they aren’t earnestly place Jesus as God and they don’t have strong relationship with God. They know God from what others said and from others experiences. They praise the God’s greatness when they hear what God did in others lives. They pray and hope to God when they facing the problems, but they aren’t sure that God surely listening their prayer.

Trusting God’s greatness because of the miracle that has been done to others, isn’t same with when ourselves experiencing God’s miracle personally. Sometimes when we heard or seen the others’ testimony, we become strong and vibrant, but when are facing the problems, we begin to doubt whether God will help us. Why is that? Because we don’t feel the pain, struggles, pressure, and all the emotions that these people feel upon passing the problems. We just heard a victorious end result, without feel the process.

Currently, if there are among us who are experiencing the struggles and are under hard pressure, remember that God is good to all His children. If God is willing and able to help our brothers, believe that God also MUST be willing and able to help us. Still put hope and wait patiently for the Lord

Now let’s have a look to the 2nd thing:

DIDN’T HAVE FAITH LIKE ABRAHAM

Back to Genesis 24:2-4 especially verse 3. Abraham delegated Eliezer with words: “…..that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, AMONG WHOM I DWELL….. But Eliezer said to Rebekah’s family: “…..You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, IN WHOSE LAND I DWELL.” (Genesis 24:37 NKJV)

There was a fundamental difference between words of Abraham and Eliezer. Abraham never said that his living land was the Canaanites’s land. He just said that he dwelled among the Canaanites. Abraham had faith that the Canaan land was his land in accordance with God’s promise: “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:8 NKJV). But Eliezer quoted Abraham’s word with his own comprehension. “… The Canaan, IN WHOSE LAND I DWELL.” In the other words, Eliezer considered that the residence of Abraham is the country of Canaanites. In fact it was true. In the real terms the land of Canaan was still owned by the Canaanites. But by faith Abraham believed that the land of Canaan was his because the Lord had spoken to him.

Eliezer already saw how great Abraham’s faith in God so Abraham faithfully did what has commanded by God. Eliezer also saw that God indeed can be trusted and never embarrass those who hope in Him. But all of that didn’t make him had faith like Abraham.

Faith is not built based on the reality, but FAITH IS BUILT BASED ON GOD’S WORD. The fact it is often contrary to our faith. If we put faith the reality, we will be easy to hesitate and falter. Let me share my experience about this.

I once had very bad financial problems. We were worse. Logically, we really didn’t even know how to get out from the problem. We just cried out and asked God for help. We were always strengthened when we heard the sermon. And our hope raised up when we received the God’s promise. But the reality didn’t change at all even there were times our condition getting worst. I admit that sometimes we doubt and worry. But there is no other way beside put hope and trust to God. To whom we hope except to God? Day after day we strengthen our trust to God and learn to hold firm God’s promises to us, while continue knowing God and His ways. Till now, have been many years we went through it all. Right now, I dare to say that God will never disappointing and embarrass those who put hope and trust to God. By His own way God help us. It is not as we imagine, but we believe God’s way is totally perfect. Already proved that until today God always take care, deliver, and help us.

Now, if there are among us who are in the trouble and already praying, serving God, and learn to be faithful… But the God’s answer doesn’t come true and the reality doesn’t change, be patients… Strengthen our heart, and keep trust. Like Abraham, we must direct the eyes of our faith in the God’s word, because the Lord who promised is faithful and trusted. “By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to procreate, because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy.” (Hebrews 11:11 NET)

Why Abraham truly believe to God, even when everything seems impossible? Because he really knows who is God that he worshiped. We will not know God if we aren’t build a personal fellowship with God. And if we don’t know God, then we will not totally trust Him.

WALKING WITH GOD

It is good become the serve servant, but built an intimacy with God is much better. That is way make Jesus as the one and only God and walk with Him. We have to experience it personally. For that we must live in obedience and willingness to do God’s will, and allows God to be fully involved in every aspect of our lives. Entrusting ourselves to the guidance and God’s decision to choose the ways for us according to His will. Through the experience after experience walk with the Lord, God’s word becomes real and alive in our lives. Let us diligent in prayer and reading God’s word every day so that we know God more and our faith muscles will be stronger. AMEN.

 

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Background images: Google Images (edit with pixlr app)

 

 

 

 

The Palm and Cedar tree

PSALM 92 12- Karina's Thought

 

In the bible we found so many parables especially that used by Jesus Christ to deliver His teaching. Also before Jesus came down to the world, God has been using many parables that given through His prophets. If we look carefully God uses many elements of nature as a parable. This time I am interested to talk about a parable in the book of Psalm namely the parable of a palm tree and cedar of Lebanon

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; (Psalm 92:12 NIV)

The interesting thing from this parable is The Psalmist compares the righteous with the shoots that appear in the palm trees, and lush like a cedar in Lebanon. To capture the meaning and essence of this parable, let us first look at the character of both of these trees. First, let’s have a look on the palm tree. For the wanderers who walk in the dry and barren desert, it is uplifting thing if they see a palm tree. Why? Because if they meet the palm tree, so it means soon they will meet an oasis or water spring. There will be no a palm tree if there is no water spring around the tree.

How does the palm tree can grow in the barren and dry desert? When the seeds of palm are planted, the fibrous roots will penetrate the ground to find and absorb the water. Even though the roots of palm tree do not penetrate too deep to the ground but each fiber of the roots will spread and gripping the ground so strong. That is why the palm tree could become a strong tree. The palm tree will be deeply rooted although not too deep.

This is the meaning and essence that The Psalmist wants to convey. Deeply rooted! The righteous shall have strong roots. The righteous will be able to stand strong in the midst various obstacles, remain strong even though hit by powerful desert storm, and be able to continue to grow and produce fruit. I likened the problems and obstacles such as the dry, barren and scorching desert but the palm tree remain able to grow through deeply roots and know where put their hope. And the God’s word clearly says:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV)

Palm trees are able to grow in the middle of a barren desert because they know where to find water. So it is with us, we will be able to live even though in the middle of struggles and hard life if we know where to obtain the “Living water” furthermore, when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well:

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water… Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10, 13-14 NIV)

Besides having a deeply rooted character, Like a palm tree which is full of nutrients and invigorating,  the righteous supposed to be a refresher for the “barren and dry “environment , become an oasis in the desert,  and be blessing that bring joy to others. In the other word, be the light and salt as the message of Jesus himself. (Matthew 5:13-16 NIV)

Now let’s take a look to the second tree, Cedars of Lebanon.  Cedars are known to be very strong and not easily weathered. Getting older instead of being fragile, even the wood is getting stronger. The tree is also known to have a strong resistance to weather changes. No wonder at the time, cedars is often used for palace’s pillars and even the temple courts. In the book of Kings we can get a picture of this cedar tree. When Solomon built his palace, he mostly uses this cedar trees from Lebanon.

He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting trimmed cedar beams. It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested on the columns—forty-five beams, fifteen to a row. (1 Kings 7:2-3 NIV)

So, the meaning of cedars parables are, we are as the righteous is expected to be strong person who can act as a pillar for the life of our fellow, and for the God’s glory. We have to become a strong person who not easily wavers in facing the severity of the life’s problems, not easily fragile facing the heavy storm of life.  We have to still standing strong despite many world temptations trying to strike us.

Based on the character of both of these trees we can see clearly that the Psalmist does not arbitrarily take a parable. There is a strong intent behind this parable. Palm trees and cedar symbolizes us as the righteous that live in Christ. We expected to have characters like both of those trees. Deeply rooted, able to overcome obstacles, continue growing, able to live in the midst of difficulties, able to bear fruit and become fresheners that bring joy to the people around us, then also be able to become a strong pole in life.

When I read and ponder this parable, there are questions crossed in my mind.  What about us now?  As Christ followers, have we deeply rooted like palm tree and know where we have to get living spring water? Have we thrive and bear much fruit that gives joy and blessing to many people around us? Or whether in fact our life become like a dry and barren desert? Have we become a strong poles like cedars wood, growing with incredible strength? Or otherwise we are still easily wavering buffeted by wind, always unsteady and even someone else sustain us?

I strongly believe that we all have deep longing to always growing strong, bear much fruit, and can be a blessing to others. We also long to be a strong pillar who could sustain someone other. How we can grow, and bear fruit? Very clear God’s word says:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4 NIV)

Then Jesus continued:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)

Let’s pay attention to the verses above. Until three times Jesus the Lord mentions “remain in me” This means it is very clear to us that always remain in Him is the most important thing we have to do. To be fruitful and be a blessing to others, we have to live and deeply rooted in Christ.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.(Colossians 2:6-7 NIV)

Without it, all just be in vain. That is what will bring us to the living water, water that will be given by Jesus which  will not be able to make us thirst forever, become the water spring in Him who constantly welling up to eternal life.

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”(John 4:14 NIV)

And when we bear much fruits we will glorify God.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8 NIV)

For how long we can bear fruits? If we refer to the nature laws, our capabilities will have decrease such as our eyesight, hearing, brain and mind, and so on. Our physical condition cannot resist the natural law in line with our ages. But it does not mean we have stop to bear fruits. How come? God has declared this long, long time ago:

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)

Our strength is limited and will decline, but we must remember that the power of God will never decrease. And God says ready to carry, bear and saved us up even though our hair graying. This is God’s promise. That is clear, God still has a plan even when we are old and weak, and God still wants to use us regardless of age and ability.

My dear friends, let’s us encourage and pray one and another to always make effort and learning to have characters like palm and cedar tree by always live in God and the Holy Spirit. Always walks in the truth of God’s word and His will. Always maintain intimacy of our relationship with God. If our spiritual life begins dry and barren, immediately splash our spirituality with the living God’s word so we will continue to thrive and bear much fruit.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season,
 whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV)

Let God guiding and strengthen us in the forming process to be a person who have characters like palm and cedar tree. Do not rely on our own ability to become strong pole but be strong in God and in His grace. Amen.

… Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10 NIV)

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1 NIV)

Karina – Living by faith

Thank you to brother in Christ Daniel Lyons for the great thought and further information about the palm tree

Image source:shintaluki.blogspot.com

7 Words after Jesus’ Resurrection

HE IS RISEN-Karina's Thought

For us as Christians, The resurrection of Jesus Christ has a very deep meaning. It is a greatest gift in the human history. This time I tried to depict the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection from another side. I and my husband focused our attention to the seven words after He was raised. However, need to know that this post is not a Bible study or commentary. This posts just our thought. So later on when read this post you may found any mistake or miss interpretation, please feel free to give us comment, suggestion or critic. This post is based on John 20: 15-29. We are not saying that these are first saying but I prefer called it as seven important words after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 
First words: “Woman” He said “Why you crying?” (John 20:15)

 
We spent much time to ponder this word. Crying! In life, crying is a life reality. Crying is something which becomes a part of our lives. There is a time when we have to cry for some reason. Jesus’ resurrection is not wiping our tears but He is the answer of every reason for our tears. God has not promised that there is no more rain, but God promised that there is always rainbow after the rain. God has not promised that there is no more tear, but God promises that tears of grief will turn to tears of joy! God has not promised that the sky will always clear, but He promises that in the midst of the dark cloud, God still be there for His children. And one day God promised that: ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”(Revelation 21:4) This time, if we are currently in a difficult situation, have much life’ pressure, our life is so dark, and so many tears, remember that God always be with us. God always be there for us.

 
The second: “Maria…” (Verse 16)

 
Here we know something that Jesus recognized the woman as Mary, one of His disciples. This show us that God really know very well every His disciples personally. It means He also knows very well each of our problem. He knows our difficulties and struggling. He appreciates each of us. People will feel much appreciated if his name is always remembered. Jesus did it. Not just to Mary but even to each of His disciples. Further, Jesus care to each of us as His children. In everyday lives, we often just remember to those people who we really care. But Jesus always cares to everyone who believes Him no matter who they are. He teaches us to always put awareness to everyone. Not only to those people who are very close to us.

 
The third: “…Go instead to my brothers and tell them…..” (Verse 17)

 
Jesus told to Mary to go to proclaim the news of His resurrection to His brethren. Why the Jesus’ resurrection should to proclaim? Because it news gives a joy. The death of Jesus on the Cross makes the disciples very sad and devastated. And only His resurrections who can make them rejoice again. This means that Easter is Joyful news because our Savior has triumphed over power of death. Moreover, the news gives a strength and courage. Jesus’ disciples become weak and fear after Jesus death and they stay in hidden place. The news of Jesus’ resurrection makes them found new courage and strength to keep running life, because they know that Jesus always be with. Hope! Jesus arose with bring a hope. The Death of Jesus made the disciples scattered because they lost hope for the future. Therefore, Jesus’ resurrection reunites his disciples in Jerusalem, and gave them hope for a better future. My dear friends, if we now lose of hope, please remember In God we always have a hope. We don’t need to worry of our future because even though our path is so dark, there is always a light of hope.

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)

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

Fourth: “Peace be with you” (Verse 19&21)

 
Jesus’ resurrection has a meaning that He rose bring peace to His people. We are as believers should have peace because: Our sins have been forgiven, death and Satan has been defeated, and by His wound we are healed. In this hard life, our life is very close with fear and worry which become from the problem and trials that we face. And it all make us don’t have peace. Remember this point: The resurrection of Jesus Christ bring peace to us. Though our live is so hard, there is no reason to us to do not have peace because God has promise to us:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Fifth: “As the Father has sent me. I am sending you (verse 21b).

We thought this point is a most important thing in Christian life. Deputation! Call to serve others. After Jesus arose, He will ascend to the Heaven. It means it is our turn to continue His works in this world. There are three kind of calling that should be done. The first is Evangelism. Call to become a fisher. Church and we are as congregation should to proclaim God’s word bravely to over the world. Bring the lost to know and accept God as a personal savior.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

The second is communion/ fellowship (Koinonia in Greek). This is a calling to fellowship with others in the church. Through fellowship our Christian life and faith will grow up and we can encourage each other. It is written in Hebrew 10:25,

Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We are also the God’s citizen.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, (Ephesians 2:19)

And even though we are many and different but we are the one body.

So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:5)

The third is deacon (Diaconia). As Christians we also called to help the poor or those people in need. This is not just implemented with pray for them but even implemented with our deeds by donate them. We should learn from Macedonian churches who willing to gave much as they were able.

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, (2 Corinthians 8: 1-3)

If they are in the midst of trial be able to give, why we are that probably in sufficient not to do the same thing. Besides we give an offertory and the tithe, there is no harm to give to people in need such as beggars or the poor.

Sixth: “….and be not faithless, but believing” (verse 27)

This saying is Jesus’ proving to Thomas who doubt and do not believe in His resurrection. Not only to Thomas but to the many people who doubting the fact that Jesus has risen. Here, we learn not to be skeptic like Thomas. Do not miss an important moment to believe. Even in the worst circumstances, when we do not understand God’s purpose, choose to continue to believe. Nothing is impossible for those who believe in Him.

Seventh:”…Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Verse 29b)

This last saying is talk about something that becomes a foundation in Christian lives. Here we talk about Faith. Relating to Thomas case, Jesus does not rebuke him because he doesn’t believe. Jesus pleased eventually Thomas believes that He arose. It is good our faith grows because we see something miracle happens. But actually, it would be even better if our faith grows by believing something that not seen. My dear friends, in daily lives, how many times we behave like Thomas? We are so hard to believe in something that we do not see. We tend to find out the proof before we believe. One thing to be remembered is we are saved not by works but by faith.

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. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And as the righteousness we should living by faith and also not by what we see.

, Just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

For we live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

In this part, let’s ponder together one thing, how healthy and strong our faith today? How far we are confident and believe in the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Conclusion

Through Jesus’ resurrection: We are saved, give us new peace, strength and hope, give us responsibility to proclaim the Gospel, build and maintain fellowship with others, caring to those people who need our hand, and eventually, Jesus’ resurrection teach us to always maintain our faith to trust in God’s will and plan for our life. Dear all beloved friends, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a greatest gift in the human history. Happy Easter! God bless you abundantly. Amen.

Karina & Kevin – Living by Faith
Photo credit: beencreekbaptist.org

Fly Like an Eagle

Fly Like an Eagle-Karina's Thought

A few days ago I received a package from my parents in Hong Kong. And when I opened it, I am somewhat stunned and surprised. A large photo of an eagle! On its photo was written: “Fly Like an Eagle” and below was written a bible verse:

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31)

After I put it on the wall of my workroom, I like being hypnotized; I stared deep into the photo and my mind drifted away. I was a bit shocked and immediately aware when my husband suddenly hugged on my shoulder. Then he asked,” Princess, there is something wrong in that photo? Or there is something on your mind?” I smiled and said, “Yes, there is something on my mind”

Talk about an eagle, eagle is fascinating fowl. Have wide wings. Even the widest ever measured was as wide as 2.5 meters (8 feet). Eagles were Famous for its endurance when he flew. Although needed the considerable energy for flapping wings at first, but once he flew, an eagle only put out very low energy. The research results stated that the eagles only take an average of 2 minutes to beat their wings in every hour of flight time. Eagles can fly long without flapping their wings. Eagles can fly to hover in the air (gliding) or fly off (soaring) by utilizing the thermal air / heat that rises on the open mainland. By doing so, he only requires very low energy to be able to fly longer. Not only that, eagles can travel an average distance of 75 to 125 miles. That is the secret of eagles’ power which is capable of flying very high. Eagles will never be tired because he did not have to use much energy to be able to fly for a long time and a long distance.

But, do not think that when the baby eagles are born then they already were so. Eagles are a fragile beast when they were a child so their parent will usually bring them to stay in high peak and train them to fly. The parent would drop the young eagles down and let them screaming before finally practicing flapping their wings. When the young eagles start flapping their wings, their parent was ready to help when they are going to weak and fall and they will rise up and fly became more powerful eagle.

I am thinking deeper. When we are in problems that come repeatedly, we can feel our strength declining both physical and mentally. The weakening of our strength will only make us more helpless in the face of problems that we have. But God’s Word teaches us, that the key to obtain the strength in dealing with various problems is waiting upon the Lord. Waiting upon the Lord means that we continue to hope in the Lord, directing the eyes of our hearts to God, praying to God, reading and meditating on the God’s word, obedient to His commandments and uphold our faith and hope to the God. By keeping our fellowship with God, we will be in a condition that is always waiting on the Lord. The existing problems should not hinder us to still come to worship Him. We must still following God whatever is happening.

When we let go of our hope in God, we will increasingly lose the strength to walk forward. Physical strength and mind that we have is not enough to deal with the entire burden, because we have a limit in our ability. God wants us to be as strong and brave like an eagle. He wants us to continue to train our wings of faith to face and through any life challenges. Winds and storms in our lives will force us to fly and like the parent eagle who keeps an eye on their child learning to fly, God will watching over and will help us so we not be allowed to fall.

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)

When we come to God and always waiting for Him, we will get the new strength. New strength that God has given will enable us to rise to undergo what is in the front of us. God will give us a new spirit, a new wisdom, a new joy, a new hope, so that we can stand up straight in running this life. Like an eagle who never tired by the time he flew, so it is with us who waiting on the Lord. We will never feel tired because God has given us new strength. We can deal with no matter how hard. We can get out from the various problems. We can undergo existing hardships. We did not even realize that so many miraculous things that we have been through, because God has given us the strength to through it all.

My dear friends, what about us now? Whether we are currently in weak condition, physically and mentally? Do we have so many burdens which slowly but sure undermined our strength and faith?  Are we losing of hope and everything looks like so hard to be lived? This time I would like to encourage you with wonderful Bible verses:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I ask one question. Are there people around us like family or friends who could say like God says in the verse above? Is there anyone who could guarantee by saying: ….And I will give you rest”? No nothing at all. So through these powerful verses we all know and be reminded where we should to go when we are weary and burdened and where we should put our hope.

I am not saying that our lives would become so easy. We will still have problems ahead but we must face it. No mater we like or not, our life still must go on.  Let us continue to direct our hearts and minds to God only. Keep waiting on the God, maintain our relationship with God so that our fellowship with Him getting close and closer day by day. His loving hand is always open for us comes to Him. Continue to train our wings of faith and He will give us a new strength so we can have power and fly high tirelessly like an eagle. Amen.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Karina – Living by Faith

Photo credit: Google Images

Related content: http://faithrises.com/2014/05/21/fly-like-an-eagle/

(The image on this post is not original as it was sent by my parents. All the text in the original image was written in Mandarin language)

Let All The Earth Be Silent Before Him

Habakkuk 2  20 Karina's Thought

 

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. Habakkuk 2:20

Been this month I go deep into the book of Habakkuk. Like from another Bible figures, I learned so much about faith from Habakkuk. This is the second post based on the book of Habakkuk. The first is Feet like the Feet of a Deer. As usual I try to relate it to our daily lives.

“O Lord, How long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!”(Habakkuk 1:2) This is was Habakkuk’s cry when evil was rampant in the land of Israel. He size up that God was doing nothing. What was done by Habakkuk at the time was not much different from what we usually do at this time. I don’t know how many times we complain to God when there are so many problems and afflictions in our lives. When we cannot see evidence of God at work, or are puzzled by the unfolding His providences, often times we tend to draw the wrong conclusions and we start complain to God.

“Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” (Habakkuk 1:12-13) This is the Habakkuk’s second complaint. He did not understand why God the Holy One could keep silence to see the wicked to destroy His people.

There is important thing that we can learn from Habakkuk. Even though he was complaining and do not understand and also have limitation to be able to dive into God’s plan, he’s still waiting for God’s answer to his complaint. “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” (Habakkuk 2:1) This means that Habakkuk still rely on the God’s power and, and he believed that God would doing something.

Finally he became satisfied that God is sovereign and that all should bow before Him. “The Lord is in His Holy Temple” this is comforting and reassuring us. Maybe we faced so many things that make us confused, worry and fear; we face so many problems and affliction but we should to remember that the Lord is in His Holy Temple and He is still reigning. Every problem and affliction that comes to our lives is under His control. If we know that everything is under His control, why we should to complain?  “Let all the earth keep silence before Him” Knowing God has a purpose in our problems and trials gives us hope. Indeed, by our problems and afflictions we will be made more holy, more like Christ, and God will reveal to us more of Himself.

At the end of the book of Habakkuk, we saw how great his faith. Habakkuk’s faith is a faith that is not shaken by any situation, even in his lack of understanding of God’s decision he is still faithful. When he prays, he ended his prayer with firm faith. He said, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19) Take a look at a form of faith that even in a state of crisis, stress, fear, threat seems terrible, still able to make Habakkuk joy and rejoice in the Lord. Habakkuk attitude is based on faith fully surrender to God’s decision. Despite his situation will probably continue to be more severe, but his faith in God does not waver. He still rejoices in the God who saves, and it all happened because he made God ​​as a source of his strength.

My lovely friends, Is there this day we are shaken by the difficulties facing an increasingly difficult situation?  Whether our faith began to waver due to pressures that continue to hit us, increasing the difficulties of life, problems that do not have a way out?  Do not be discouraged. We can learn from Habakkuk. Have firm faith like Habakkuk. Totally believe in the Lord with all our heart. God is able to equip us to be able to face all the problems, all the uncertainties in life, because God is the source of our strength. Have a strong faith as a basis in our life.  Do not ever rely on our own strength. We must remember that the existence of God is always faithful to accompany us with His unlimited power; His strength was never under the control of the difficulties we face. Everything is in His control. Let we keep silence before Him. Amen.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19

Karina – Living by Faith

Photo credit: biblerays.com

Feet Like the Feet of a Deer (Habakkuk 3:19)

Habakkuk 3 19 Karina's Thoughts

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19

When I read and contemplate this verse, my mind imagining a deer. Deer is not a strong animal.  A deer is always prone to attacks of wild animals such as lions or tigers. Every time its life could be at risk because there is always the target of the jungle predators. But God gave the deer tapering legs are able to bring it to jump quickly. Deer’s legs even able to jump on hard and sharp rocks to get to the top of the hill, a place where the deer will be in a much safer situation. Deer is a weak animal, but the legs are able to set foot on rocky hill, past the obstacles until finally arriving at the high and save places.

I analogize a deer’s life with journey of our lives. Life in this world is not easy. Problem by problem could be making it harder to move forward, like sand, gravel and even sharp stones are tough to pass. We are weak creatures who are vulnerable to various threats. Roads are often winding and steep to through. If deer have legs that can take him jump across the stone by stone, stepped on steep streets, if we can do that as well? The Bible insists that God said we could.

The Bible verse above explicitly reminds us to always be aware that the source of our strength is in the Lord, and not to the strength, or the ability of our own greatness, nor lie at all facilities, property, or the things in the world. He could make our feet like deer which able to set foot, jumping with a beautiful gracefully on the sharp stony hills. God knows our problems. He knows what we face is not easy. But do not worry God cares to us. That is why He promised help which will make us like deer, an animal that is physically quite weak but has the ability to jump over the rough terrain until he could safely reach higher ground.

David said, “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.”(Psalm 18:33) Rely on the Lord will be able to make us have the ability to stand upright on the hill, where we will be safe overcome the problems that have been hindering us. Yes, only God who can make us like that. A high place describes a place where the problem can no longer be difficult for us. In Isaiah it is said that in a place like that house of the Lord will be able to stand up straight despite everything under unsteady in a storm. God will stand up straight, not stagger and fall easily when hit by storm. In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3)

The hard life, stormy problems continue to hit from all directions. All that can make us waver even destroyed sooner or later. Our limited ability will never be enough to overcome the constant attacks which come upon us. That is why we need to jump over all of that and continue to climb up to the top of the hill, where we will stand upright with God who enables us. God promises a help which will make us able to leap nimbly through the obstacles by obstacles to arrive at the top of the hill safely.

How we can continue to climb up to the top of the hill? David said, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)  God’s word! This is the key! We need to train our spiritual life continually. We must continue to grow and continue to increase, retracing up, continue to recognize God more closely. That is what will enable us to be able to rise to a higher place. The higher we are, the more difficult it is for problems to unsettle us. By always relying on the God’s word, with deepen the knowledge of God through the writings that inspired in the Bible we will be able to stay upright despite the situation around us were shaken by the storm. And we can say, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord I will be joyful in God my Savior.”(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

My dear lovely readers, whether our lives are being hit by so many storms? Problem by problem hit us from every side?  Our feet are too weak to jump on the hard and sharp stones? Hard to climb up to the higher safe place?  Let’s ponder again the Bible verse above. “The Sovereign Lord is my strength” This phrase means do not rely on our own strength when we face the problem. Rely on ourselves or other things in this world sooner or later will make us give up.” he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”  Do not forget that we have a God who so loves us and has promised us help. He is ready to give the deer leg that will enable us to traverse the rocky road, winding and steep until finally standing upright on top of the hill, where the problems are no longer able to bother us. Amen.

Karina

Photo credit: donalddunnart.com