who are you?

“who are you” seems like a simple question, but can you answer it truthfully, knowing exactly who you are? When the Jews asked him this question, John the Baptist answer “I am the voice of the one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.'” (John 1:23)

John was born in a religious family. His mother Elizabeth was from Aaron descendant and his father Zechariah was from the Priestly Division of Abijah (Luke 1:5-6). He grew up studying the Torah and know how important God for the Jews. He went through all the stages the Jews boy must going through, but that’s not the identity card he want to flash.

The angel did came to his father and spoke about him being a joy and delight to them. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth and bring many people back to God that was the picture his father get from the angel. I am sure he spoke about this to John as he started to understand GOD in his life, but I also believed there was time when John encounter God himself to know who he really was. In John 1:33 he said. “I would not have known him, except the One who sent me to baptize with water told me”

I am not the Christ, not Elijah, not The Prophet (John 1:20-21)… That’s what he said while he’s living in the desert, with camel-hair clothes, leather belt around his waist, eating locusts and wild honey… screamed the message of repentance, not really an impressive person people would looking for. But that’s the thing, he’s not there to impress anybody, he’s there to get them focus on GOD…on Jesus. Amazingly people did come to him and most of them turned to GOD because John living the purpose God has for him.

Many times as Christian we know we need to preach about Jesus, but at the same time we want to be recognized as well. We like people to thanks us, notice what we did or even pad us on the back. The thing is, if you are on the spotlight, God will be in dark spot. But if you let God in the spotlight, you will be dimmed and John knew this perfectly that’s why he said “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30)

To answer this simple question… I must see myself through God’s point of view. Yes I am a mother of 2, I am the eldest in my family, I am a holder of a Master degree, or a photographer,… but to know ME, I must be close enough to Him, to know what His purpose for my existence on earth and living it out.

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Peter and Paul…

I’ve been reading the book of Acts this past few weeks, and I found this book is so inspired. There is no such transformation like what happen to the disciples of Jesus Christ like Peter, John, Stephen, Philip, and others. But I want to focus on two characters, Peter and Paul, the most influenced Apostles in the first Century.

Peter was one of Jesus disciple who’s been with him since the beginning. He met Peter when he casting a net in the lake for he was a fisherman. Jesus called him and said “I will make you fishers of men”. And at once Peter and his brother Andrew followed Him. (Mark 1:16-17) He was married when Jesus called him for one time when his mother-in-law was sick, Jesus came to healed her (Mark 1:30-31). He was a brave heart. One time he said “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water” Then he walk on the waterMatthew 14:28-31) but got afraid and sink, then Jesus help him. He was probably the most outspoken one among all the disciples of Jesus at the time when Jesus asked all his disciples “Who am I”, Peter came with the right answer “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” Matthew 15:16-19. He offered to build 3 shelters up in the mountain for Jesus, Moses and Elijah Luke 9:33. He was also got rebuked by Jesus “Get behind me Satan, you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” Mark 8:33 when Peter rebuked him for telling the disciples about his suffering and death. Sometimes he full of zeal, like when Jesus predict that Peter would deny him, he insisted emphatically “Even if I have to die with you I will never disown” Mark 14: 30-31, But just a few hours later what Jesus become a fact “before the rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times. Peter shows his emotion he wept bitterly Mark 14:72. When the women talked about Jesus resurrection, other disciples didn’t believe them but Peter got up and ran to the tomb and find the strips of the linen wore by Jesus lying by themselves (Luke 24:12). I personally love his last deep conversation with Jesus in John 21:15-19 Jesus asked Peter if he truly loved Him, and when he was asked for the third times Peter was hurt but that moment he really understand what it means to love Jesus. After Jesus went up to heaven, Peter stood up. First to find the replacement for Judas Acts 1:15 and second with the Eleven to address the Crowd Acts 2:14, and the result was, 3000 get baptized. Then he heals the beggar in Acts 3, together with John got into jail because of that. Then rebuked Ananias and Sapphira to death in Acts 5. Peter acts continue to preach the Word of God boldly.

Paul came later on after Jesus ascent to heaven. He persecuted the disciples, His name first mention in Acts 8:1, He was there to confirm the death of Stephen. He was a student of Gamaliel, one of the famous Rabbi in his time. And he was smart and zeal in what he believed (Galatians 1:14). He came to Damascus to found the disciples so he can put them into prison, but instead God caught him and arrested him the rest of his life for His great purpose (Acts 9:1-19). Paul went through a hard time at the beginning of his conversion because He was hated by the Jews Leader but not fully accepted by the Christian either (Acts 9:23,26). But Paul is the man who didn’t wait for confirmation from man, he knew what God want him to do and he go for it. Paul was kind of fade away when the Christian told him to go back to Tarsus his hometown, But thank God Barnabas came to pick him up, and they were partner in Gospel since then (Acts 11:25-26). Paul became a great leader in the first century church and reach out to both Jews and Gentiles.

There were and amazing Parallels between Peter and Paul (Source “Revolution by Gordon Ferguson)

Both had key sermon in Acts. Peter in Acts 2 (Jerusalem)and Paul in Acts 13 (Pisidian Antioch)

Both heal a lame. Peter in Acts 3 (the crippled Beggar at the beautiful Gate Jerusalem) and Paul in Acts 14(a crippled man in Lystra)

Both were involved in miracles that brought judgement. Peter in Acts 5 (Ananias and Sapphira at Jerusalem), and Paul with Elymas the Sorcerer at Cyprus (Acts 13)

Both were freed from the Prison by miraculous intervention. Peter in Acts 12 (Jerusalem), and Paul in Acts 16 (Philippi).

Both raised the dead. Peter in Acts 9 (Joppa) and Paul in Acts 20 (Troas)

Both had miracles result from their persons. Peter Shadow in Acts 5:15, and Paul handkerchiefs and aprons in Acts 19:11-12

Both dealt with Sorcerer. Peter in Acts 8 (Simon in Samaria) and Paul in Acts 19:19 (Some people in Ephesus)

Both refuses worship from men. Peter in Caesarea Acts 10:25-26 and Paul at Lystra Acts 14:11-15

Both saw vision from God, Peter in Acts 10 . (Pray at the roof, about a large sheet contained impure and unclean animal) and Paul in Acts 16:9-10 (A Macedonian man begging him to come), Acts 18:9-10 (The Lord spoke to him) and Acts 26:12-19 (about his vision during the conversion)

Both were spoken to by the Holy Spirit. Peter in Acts 10:19-20 (about the 3 men from Cornelius) and Paul in Acts 20:22-23 (about going to Jerusalem, and hard time he will face)

by the well…


I was just reading Genesis 29 when Jacob arrived in Paddan Aram and met Rachel at the well. What a romantic story…Suddenly I am interesting to find out more about well in the Bible because some stories of life changing happen was by the well.

Well play an important part in the life of people in the Bible, because to the wells, the shepherd would lead his flock of sheep and goats out of the thirsty. Long caravans or solitary travelers would rushed to the wells to refresh themselves from blazing heat of noon. Here also the local women would gather to gossip and to fill their jars. Well have become the landmarks in the topography of Palestine and links in its varied history extending from Abraham, who dug wells near Gerara some 4000 years ago, down to Christ in the New Testament.

There are 3 important events in the Bible I want to focus that happen by the well:
1. Genesis 24. The story of Abraham’s servant looking for a wife for Isaac, It was a big and important task. As man he can judge a woman from physical appearance, but he didn’t want to bring back just any pretty lady for his master. He want to get the best one so by the well he pray a specific pray, then waited. By the well he saw Rebekah go back and forward draw water and give drink him and water his 10 big and very thirsty camels. By the well he saw how God fulfill every single detail he asked for.
2. Exodus 2:15-22. The Life changing of Moses. He was a handsome prince in Egypt, got all the things that a man want but when he did one mistake, Pharaoh wanted to kill him. So he fleed to Midian. There by the well he met 7 daughters of Midian Priest who came to draw water and water their father’s flock. Moses got up and help them, and there he got to know his wife to be Ziporrah, whom gave him 2 son. It was the place where God prapared him to become a great leader to lead His people out of Egypt.
3. John 4. The story of Jesus talked to the Samaritan Woman. It was at Jacob’s Well in a Samarian’s town called Sychar. Started with Jesus asked for drink (verse 7) then the woman asked Him for the living water (verse 15) to the woman recognized Jesus as the Messiah (verse 25). That’s all happen by the well, the change of her life and perspective, and cause her to go and called more people to God. By the well, Jesus show his love and kindness and touch a life of a prostitute woman and made her new.

Just like Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4:13. “Everyone who drink this water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”
Jesus is the Living Well, and from Him we got the Living Water that not only satisfied our thirst forever but also create in us a spring of water to share with others and welling up to eternal life.

go for the best shot…

 

I read an interesting story from the Bible this morning. 2 King 13: 10-19. It’s about Jehoash King of Israel. He was reigned in Samaria for 16 years, but he was a bad king. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. One time Elisha was very sick, Jehoash came to him and they talked. Elisha told him to do some things and he did, at the last task when he told him to strike the ground with the arrows, he did 3 times. Elisha was angry why only 3 times, he expected 5 or 6 times, because that’s the symbol of defeating the Arameans. Three times they will win but will not completely destroy them.

At first I though maybe he didn’t understand what it’s mean, but Elisha has spoken to him that the arrows symbolized the victory over Aram. And He should use it to the max, but he didn’t. Suddenly I remember how much I am alike Jehoash. For example someone took me to a nice restaurant, and give me a change to eat anything I want, for some reason I will go for the cheap one if not the cheapest. Maybe out of politeness, that person has been kind enough to treat me I shouldn’t take advantage out of his/her goodness. 

It looks reasonable and good, but in fact that’s show the real me,  maybe I am just an average kind of person, who’s not dare to go for the best, always tell myself to be content and happy with whatever I have. I didn’t realize this is God who own Heaven and Earth, who is able to give me “more” than I can imagine. He offered me something great, amazing and I with this character of mine take it so light and just go for the good, but not according to what God has plan for me, the best. If I am in the position of God, I will pity me, who just go for the small one when I can have a big one.

So back to Jehoash, he got his chance but took the least, After that Elisha pass away, no more chance, even though he won 3 times, Aram still exist and bug Israel in the future. This is a great lesson for me, not just about food but all the opportunities in life must be taken and use to the max. I believe God is giving me great offers/opportunities in work place, in my small group, at home with the kids, even in my character, I need to take serious the promised of God and claim it to the full, and see how amazing it is.

So next time someone took me to the restaurant and offered me to eat anything I want, I will go for the best! watch out people!

it turned out is a lesson for myself…

We try to have a regular devotional with our kids. Last week-end my husband and I try to teach them about respect  one another. I made a short lesson using the story of Moses and his sister Miriam from the book of Exodus and Numbers in the Bible. Moses was born in a very dangerous time in Egypt and how his sister Miriam out of her love for him try to saved him from being killed. But later on in life when Moses became the Leader of Israel, Miriam opposed his leadership, and God was upset to her and she got leprosy. Now it’s Moses turn to help his sister. After we read the story together and discuss about Moses and Miriam relationship. I want my son to respect her older sister, and so does Jasmine respect her brother.  So I asked my kids how they feel about each other. My daughter said that she love her brother but sometimes she hates him for bugging her, especially when they’re about to take a nap. Do you know what ‘s my son said; when he saw her sister become quite and closed her eyes, he was worried she will died, so he try to wake her up. My husband and I look at each other smiled, it’s sound funny, but I though where did he got that idea. In fact he really care for her sister but he express it in a way that bother her. In the reverse, My son said that he also loves his sisters and sometimes “a little bit worry” (that exactly what he said)  when she comes home late from school, but he hate when she lectured him, I suddenly think of myself, O No! I often lectured my husband about something, i didn’t realize my kids has been learned a lot from me. So as much as I want to teach my kids about respecting others, I myself have to watch myself so that I can be a great example, because action is louder than words.

Related Issued:

www.ineedmotivation.com/blog/2009/03/how-to-set-a-good-example-for-your-kids/