Tag Archive | strength

GOD’S LOVE IN THE SUFFERING (guest post)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

THE CARE OF GOD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE GOOD FATHER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOD WITH US

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

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

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

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

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

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

A M E N

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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

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

Photo Credit: Google Images  (edited with pixlr app)

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TRUST GOD’S HEART (guest post)

As believers, prayer is like an entrance to a hopeful path, that along the way we can get answers to all the struggles. In every hope we bring to God, the happiest thing is if God gives us what we ask for. But the fact is we do not always get what we want, even if we plead with tears!!!

Many of God’s children pray for years of asking for miracles, but are instead faced with the opposite of their hope. While at the same time there are children of God with similar problems rejoicing in receiving the miraculous help from the hand of God. If we are in such a position, can we still trust God? Can we still believe that God is good while our situation seems to deteriorate? What is wrong? Do we lack of faith so we failed to obtain what we “believe in”? Do we still keep certain sins so that our answers to prayer are hindered? Before drawing a conclusion, let’s learn from some of the stories in the Bible.

 

IF NOT

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were descendants of the tribe of Judah who were brought to Babylon when king Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem. In Babylon, they were part of a chosen Israelite who was educated for three years and then worked for the king. Although they received special facilities from the king’s palace, they did not defile themselves at all. They were committed to always worshiping the God of Israel. God gave them knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, which made them ten times smarter than all the magicians and astrologers in Babylon (Daniel 1:20). So the king promoted them to sit in government. Then came the time of their faith and faithfulness to God was tested.

King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue. Whoever does not bow down and worship to the statue shall be cast immediately into a fiery furnace. When the king was angry because the three of them refused to worship, then Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who in Babylon was called by the name of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, with boldly answered the king:

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But IF NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego believed that God was able to deliver them. But they also said, “IF NOT”. “If not” here was not “if God was not able” but “if God was not deliver them”. Whatever happens they will still worship God and will not bow down to the idol. The statement stakes not just losing their reputation, position, and wealth, but their lives! That’s not a fictitious belief. Their faith was pure, without falsehoods.

The result is… The furnace was heated seven times more than usual, killed three men who took up them, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked with the angel of God in the midst of the fire without the slightest burning. Even the smell of the fires was not on them, as if a serious problem that just happened did not really happen to them. What an amazing faith that has been responded by God with a miracle that escapes them from the death.

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b NKJV)

God always responds to faith. Great things are always born from the prayers of the righteous that based on faith. Strong faith will not easily falter although “IF” God do not help. But one important thing we must ponder: Could God not help His children?? Impossible! God MUST help us because God loves us so much. It’s just His way that is not always the same as we want it to be.

 

DURING THERE IS A CHANCE

“And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.” (2 Kings 18:3 NKJV). When we read the books of Kings and Chronicles, we will find many similar sentences. Several times the Lord mentioned David’s name as a benchmark for kings who did what was right in His sight. Even in the New Testament Jesus is called the son of David: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1 NKJV). Even farther: “He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22). All these statements show how God pleased David. But… If the prayer of a man who is pleasing in the heart of God will always be granted by God??

One day the son of David with Bathsheba was sick. For many days David fasted, prayed and cried for God’s mercy so that his son was healed. The result is his son died. Whether David disappointed?

So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” And he said, “WHILE THE CHILD WAS ALIVE, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife. (2 Samuel 12:20-24a NKJV)

DURING THERE IS A CHANCE… That while his son was alive, David did not lose hope. He prayed, fasted, and believed that his son was healed and lived. But when reality differs from his will, David is not disappointed. He still worshiped God and even entertained his wife. With such extraordinary spiritual qualities, why did not God give according to his prayer? Was David “lacking of faith” so that he did not get what he was praying for? Certainly not!

Faith is not measured from “the outcome of faith”. We do not put faith in “the conviction that something we ask for we must have”, but we put faith in the person of God Almighty who can do everything, no matter whether God will do what we ask or not!!! If we put faith in “the outcome of faith” or answer to prayer, then our faith will easily waver if God does not grant what we pray.

True faith means believing in the LORD’s PERSON and not only ON THE WORKS OF HIS HAND!
If God chooses not to do what we ask, it does not mean that God is incapable and does not mean that we are lacking of faith, but because in His omniscience God knows what is better for us.

Keep hoping and praying in faith while there is still a chance. Do not give up! Keep believing and do not be disappointed whatever the outcome. There is always “a hidden blessing” behind every problem and God’s plan is always more beautiful beyond our expectations.

 

YES, NO, WAIT

The two stories above illustrate a prayer based on firm faith. Faith is not wavered by any answer of God. What about us? We know that God always answers prayers. If God answers “YES” we will get what we ask for. When God answers “No”, it means God does not grant our request. And if God has not given an answer, then we must “WAIT”. Until when? Only God knows. We must be patient and keep faith because in times of waiting all possibilities can happen. But do not worry. Though the problem persists and seems to be more complicated, God always keeps us and is in control of everything.

So what if after waiting, it turns out the answer is “no”? If God finally answers “no”, why wait so long? The answer to prayer is always related to God’s plan. We can only measure from the life we have lived and from the planning that we think is good, but God sees our whole life from beginning to end. If God allows anything to happen it means God is working His plan in our lives. Many times we could not understand of God’s ways. All we need is to believe. Believing that God is good, believing that God works together in all things to bring good to us as written in Romans 8:28.

Time and answer of prayer are God’s sovereignty. We can not force faster or slower. We can not question why one prayer is answered “yes”, the other is answered “no”, and another prayer “wait”. Whatever the answer of prayer we receive, that is the best gift from God for our future. If we truly believe in God, we must submit to His will and not impose our will.

In the struggle of the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He set an example of prayer for all of us: “And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36 NKJV). That is a prayer based on true faith.

True faith does not just stop at “I believe that all things are possible for God”, but in an attitude of submission and surrender: “Not what I will but what God’s will.”

True faith always SUBJECT TO THE WILL OF GOD. Do not ever assume and treat God like a vending machine that once we put the coin into the machine and we simply press the button of the stuff, then immediately we get what we want. We can not force God to make Him willing to obey our will. Precisely in submission and surrender to the God’s will is reflected the real of our quality of faith.

Right now, let us ask the Holy Spirit to light our hearts. If indeed we still have sin, let’s ask God for forgiveness. Let us settle our relationship with the Father so that we may know Him better. The Father’s heart is good and always wants to help His children. Everything we need has been guaranteed by the Father. He knows everything more than what we want and need. If the answer of prayer we receive is not what we ask, then God is preparing for something more beautiful, more noble and eternal. Do not measure the goodness of the Father solely from the deeds of His hands. Do not doubt and question His answer. He is too wise to do wrong. He is too good to do evil. If we do not understand His plan, if we can not see the deeds of His hands, just TRUST HIS HEART. He loves us so much.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32 NKJV)

 

A M E N

 

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images – pixabay.com  (the text edited with pixlr app)

THE NEW SEASON (Guest Post)

Hello, dear readers. Now I am just stopping by to give a short note to this guest post. This time, with all of my respect, I would like to thank you for all of your prayers to me and my father. Though my father hasn’t totally recovered, we are grateful to God almighty his health condition is getting better. And for me personally, Right now I get into a new season of life. My father’s doctor team had given serious warning and ultimatum that starting from now, my father should resign and totally quit from all of his business activities. It means me (as his single daughter) and my mom should take over all of my father’s activities. This will be a hard season of my life. There will be a huge burden on my shoulder should to bear. But, as Sister Sella said in this post that there is too much proof of God’s promises when we are in the midst of hard season. I strongly believe God will not let me walk alone. His loving hand will always hold me tight to go through this season.

Dear readers, Thank you for your prayer and support. I am so sorry still couldn’t active visit and read your awesome posts. I do promise will be come back again. God bless you All.

(Karina Lam)

 

Life is a journey of time to go through season after season.

Every season is a new season because we don’t know what will happen in the future.

Kids are living in a child season. When they are growing up, they will enter the seasons that are no longer dominated by “their world” itself, but began to be burdened with different needs and responsibilities.

For the newlyweds, it will certainly have different season when in the later they have child, son-in-law, and grandchild. All was going along with the journey of human cycle.

THE UNPREDICTABLE SEASON

All of the seasons we have talked above are the common season and almost experienced by everyone. We even could make a prediction when the season will come up. We are able to make approximate calculation and prepare ourselves as best as we can do. We could make physically and mentally preparing, and even make financial planning. But how perfectly our preparations and planning, we still don’t know what will be happen in the upcoming season.

“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV)

A shocking thing could be happen! The unpredictable season could suddenly come up and we are forced to change the plan, and even deflecting our lives direction. It would be so nice if it’s a beautiful season but often it’s unpleasant, hard to bear, and we definitely cannot run away from the reality. There’s no other choice! We have to go through until the new season comes again!

But don’t be terrified and discouraged, because we have the holy promise from God:

“Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.” (Isaiah 46:4 NKJV)

That is God’s promise to His children. People who really put trust in God will not allow walking alone. When “tough season” is coming, His presence is always MORE THAN ENOUGH for us.

GOD ALWAYS BE THERE

The Holy Bible has recorded the proofs of God’s involvement among His chosen people!

The Israelites was passing through the various seasons. At the first time they enjoyed the privileges in Egypt during the Joseph’s reign. All they needs was guaranteed very well until the situation changed drastically. The new season was coming, and brought Israelites into the slavery.

In the midst of suffering was coming a glimmer of hope for freedom. They stepped out of Egypt to the Promise Land. But apparently to heading there they had to experience “The desert season” for the long enough period of time, which is 40 years. And when the Promise Land was emblazoned in the front of their eyes, they weren’t immediately being able to live comfortably. They had to snatch it through one war to another war.

All seasons that they must experience was hard and requires a sacrifice. BUT SEE, THE PRESENT OF GOD IS ALWAYS REAL IN EVERY SEASON!!!

  • The existence of Joseph in Egypt is the proof that God is the Omniscient God who has prepared everything to preserve His people from the famine, long before it happened. (source: Genesis 50:20 ; Psalms 105:16-17)
  • The ten plagues on Pharaoh and on Egypt are the manifestation of God’s power to deliver His people. (source: Exodus 7:1-5)
  • The land of Goshen in which the Israelites dwelled has been spared from the plagues is a proof that God is the defender and protector of His people. (source: Exodus 8:22)
  • The pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire are the manifestation of the existence of God in the desert. (source: Exodus 13:22)
  • Manna from the heaven and water that came out from the rock are a proof that God always take care of the life of His people. (source: Exodus 16:35 ; Exodus 17:6)
  • The collapse of the walls of Jericho and the victory of Israel in any war are a proof of God’s help and defense. (source: Joshua 6 ; Hebrews 11:32-34)
  • Untill this day God is always there and reveal Himself through prophets, apostles, pastors, and through miracles.

Too much proofs of God’s presence in the midst of the hard season that we must go through. All of that are proof that God is always be there and real in the life of His children from era to era, from season to season until the end of time!

“… I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the  close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be).” (Matthew 28:20b AMP)

Let’s us holding on to the God’s promises and learning to put our trust in the Lord to anything that He allows happen to us, although we don’t understand His decision.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9 NKJV)

By the depth of His wisdom, God establishes and governs every season of our lives. Every season is a process that we must go through. We cannot choose or reject it, because God has a purpose in every process. All of that is to shape us to be more like Him to do His will according His grand design. We must obey and surrender to all God’s guidance. We must be willing to shaped and to transformed by God.

Each season has its own peculiarities. We cannot live in a new season in a way that we use in the season has passed. We must be willing to change everything that needs to be changed: habits, mindsets, perspectives, and ways of working, the pattern of relations, financial management, and so on.

When we go through every season in obedience and trust in the Lord, and do our part by diligently and grateful, then at the end of the season we will reap the results of the “exercise” we have been through. Namely the “muscles of faith” becomes stronger, the purity of heart, more to be holy, the way of our thinking be renewed, increasing in the knowledge of God, and spiritual maturity. And the most important is we will have an intimate and strong relationship with the Holy Spirit more than before, so that we are ready to entering a new season, whatever it is! Ecclesiastes wrote profound reflection on it.

“The end of a thing is better than its beginning” (Ecclesiastes 7:8a NKJV)

BEAUTIFUL IN ITS TIME

There is no easy process for the flesh. But the end of the result is the God’s glory will more shine on our lives. We will reap the fruit of the seed that we have sowed along the season.

  • After a long trip and full of struggle in the wilderness, finally Israel obtained the Promised Land. (source: Acts 13:17-19)
  • After sold as a slave and put into the prison, finally Joseph became governor over Egypt and even be a blessing to the nations. (source: Acts 7:9-10)
  • After losing all his children and all his wealth, finally Job got the double blessing from God. (source: Job 42:10)
  • Abraham, David, Noah, and people of faith, finally completing the God’s calling in their lives because they walked with the Lord in every season of their lives. (source: Hebrews 11)

So it is with you and me. If we always walk with the Holy Spirit in every season of our lives, then at the end the great grand design of God to us will revealed. Indeed, we do not know how the end of this season or how the next season to come. But God will not let us walk alone. Be patient and persevere in prayer. Everything must be beautiful in its time.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV)

“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.” (Psalms 27:14 AMP)

AMEN

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images

Note: Dear readers, just because of Karina still focus on her daddy’s health, so by Karina’s permission this post uploaded be myself (Sella Irene). And for this time comment and like are disabled. Thank you 🙂

 

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