Welcoming 2013

31 Dec

It seems like it was yesterday that we welcomed 2012, and now it’s 2013 in just few hours. There are a lot of things that happened to me in the past year, and I simply cannot thank God enough for everything that have been going throughout my life.

It has been an amazing year for me, started off with my engagement with my beloved then-girlfriend in January 2012. We came from different ethnicities and it can be quite uneasy if everything went wrong. Thankfully everything went well and better than we had expected.

During the next couple of months when I returned to Melbourne, I was struggling in my previous workplace. Not because I cannot keep up, but because due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to live off from very limited financial resource (or in casual terms: I had to live using as little money as possible). But praise be to God, during those hardship I never once had not eaten a meal.

After several unsuccessful attempts to find a new job (which I believe some of my friends in church has been bored to death by this testimony), I finally found a new place to work, just right in time roughly one month before my wedding date. And I was also approved to take leave for my wedding and honeymoon. On top of that, I also kept good communication with my previous workplace.

Towards the big date for my wedding, I am sure a lot of us who has gone through the wedding preparation feels the same: everything just seems to go wrong at the wrong time. But in the end our wedding went extremely well, and again, better than both of us had expected.

But our struggles did not end there. My wife had not been granted her visa, and even though I had postponed my return to Melbourne for several days, finally we have to came to accept the fact that I had to go to Melbourne by myself. Although I wasn’t angry to God, I did ask God several times why do we have to be separated again after 6 years worth of long-distance relationship. And it broke my heart when I went to church the next Sunday and everyone keep asking me where my wife was. I can only response “Next week”, with a little faith that it will somehow came true.

And again He worked in an amazing way. A little faith as big as mustard seed is all I need. My wife did come to Melbourne during the week after that Sunday, and she finally came with me to our church, and I can finally introduce her to my friends. And she also start serving in our church, as a Sunday school teacher, as well as singer.

In September, we went to a church event, where there was a pastor from Netherlands (although was born in Indonesia) that said to me that I will be used to deliver the Word of God from my mouth. That was my third confirmation that God will use me for something even greater. And after three strikes, I finally submit to His will and heed His calling. Finally in mid December, I preached to the congregation at my church.

As a new family, we don’t have much. I am working full-time as the breadwinner, while my wife is still looking for work (although now she has a casual job), preferably ones that will utilise her skills as a Chinese Language and Literature graduate. We had our share of ups and downs as a family, as a husband and wife. But never once in our journey, even though it is still 6 months as of December 2012, we feel that God leave us. He does take it seriously when He said He will stand before our marriage and hold us together.

As 2012 closes up, I just want to thank God for everything that He has done in our life and marriage. He never left us, and never forsake us. Me and my wife are ready to accept things that God has put in store for us. There will be struggles, but there will also be peace, joy, and blessings that will follow us. So keep calm, have faith and trust God.

Stay blessed.

Authority to Bless

6 Oct

James 3:1-12

Blessing OthersLiving as a Christian, especially in a country where people have freedom to express their opinion quite freely is quite something. There are often times when I heard someone else cursing, or swearing at another person. Unfortunately, I also sometimes do the same thing. As Christians, we are expected to keep watch on every word that comes out of our mouth. Why is this important? Because many Christians do not realize that their words have the authority to bless, or to curse.

I am a firm believer in the power of the tongue and the authority that it brings to bless or curse others. In James 3:1-12 (NIV), the power that our tongues hold is explained. I believe as we are made in God’s likeness, the words that we speak also have tremendous power. It saddens me that we sometimes choose to use this for purposes other than blessing.

Before we start, it is useful to know what I meant by blessing. The earliest form of blessing is written in Genesis 1 (NIV), in which God blessed His creations to fill the earth. If we take a closer look to this chapter, we will see that there are three major points that constitute God’s blessing:

  • Be fruitful

Be fruitful means that God’s blessing will make our efforts produce desired outcomes. Fruitfulness is the opposite of barrenness. Fruitfulness is being able to produce, perform as we desire, and to bring the best of you in a pleasing and satisfying way.

  • Multiply (increase in number)

Multiplication means that God’s blessing will make our effort not only produce desired outcomes, but also multiply our outcomes so it far surpasses what we had expected our outcome to be.

  • Dominion over the earth

Dominion is the unique blessing that God gave to mankind. It was not present in all other blessings for the creatures. Dominion over the earth means that we as the children of God have the authority, and be in control over anything on earth.

These three basic points are the manifestation of blessings, meaning that people who are blessed will be fruitful, multiply, and have the authority over the situations in their life. Curses, on the other hand, would have the opposite effect: they involve barrenness, difficulty to be fruitful, and humiliation instead of authority.

There are many forms of blessings. Some categorise them as spiritual or physical blessing, others categorise them according to the context and purpose, such as marriage blessings, priestly blessings, and some others. It is important to know that blessings are poured by God; only the way it is being given is different:

  • Blessings that God gave us

In this sense, to be blessed means that one is to be favoured by God, and as such, it is directly associated with God. Blessings in this sense came from God’s words Himself and the fulfilment of those words.

In the Old Testament and since the fall of mankind to sin, people entered a relationship with God under the old covenant, where they would be blessed for their obedience, and they will be cursed for their transgressions. These are listed in great detail in Deuteronomy 28, where it shows the blessings that will be granted as well as curses that will be inflicted to the Israelites, and in Deuteronomy 30, God specifically gave the choice of to choose life or death. In general, God has established that blessings are beneficial intervention with kindness on the part of God in favour of those He honours, and curses are deleterious interventions based on rules, regulations and specific behaviour.

However it all changed when Christ came and redeemed us, and thus marked the beginning of the new covenant, grace through faith. Under the new covenant, as we can see in Galatians 3:10-15, no longer we are blessed only if we obey God, and we are no longer cursed if we failed to do so. Not only that, Ephesians 1:3 also state that we already received every spiritual blessing that we received through Christ.

This means that we, as children of God, have already received all spiritual blessings that He has prepared for us, such as His guidance and deliverance, intimate relationship with Him, as well as unlimited direct access to Him.

  • Blessings that we bestow upon someone else

Apart from blessings that are given to us through Christ, we also have the authority to bless other people. We often see or hear the phrase God bless you, and this is an example of this blessing. I want to remind us all that the one who give us blessings is the Lord, we are merely the vessels to channel His blessings to other people. And this is the part that I want to share today.

The blessings that we bestow upon someone else is not a new thing, it has been recorded as well in various instances in the Old Testament, most notably in Numbers 6:22-27 where God instructed Moses to tell Aaron how to bless the Israelites. Why did God give instructions to Aaron to bless the Israelites?

As I have explained before, in the Old Testament, under the old covenant in which blessings were favoured upon obedience and curses given upon transgressions, God had no direct contact to the Israelites except through Moses and Aaron. Since Aaron was the high priest who had the authority to bless, therefore God instructed Aaron to bless the Israelites, through the use of words.

Why is this important to know of? Because it means that we have the ability to bless other, through the use of our words. Throughout in the Bible, there are other instances where blessings were delivered through the use of words. Take example in Genesis 27, where Isaac blessed Jacob, and then Esau came in only to find his blessings had been taken away. When Isaac knew about this, he trembled and shocked of what had happened. Isaac knew that his words of blessing were something that is not easy to be taken away once spoken.

Let us see another example from the Bible, this time from the New Testament, where Jesus cursed the fig tree in Mark 11:12-25. Jesus spoke to the fig tree, and the next morning that very same fig tree withered. We may be tempted to think that it was a given since Jesus was God Himself, however the Bible did not state that Jesus was using His godly powers. He was merely speaking to the tree.

The purpose of my sharing today is to open up our eyes to the power that we often neglect: the power of our tongues and the authority that comes with our words. Proverbs 18:21 said that our tongues holds the power of life and death, and I believe this is one of the strongest word found in the Bible. It is important to know that our words are significantly powerful and can bless other, transfer blessings, authority, ownership, and God sees it as a legal contract. In Matthew 12:36, it is written that God will hold every men (and women) accountable to each word that they speak idly. We have to remember there is a direct spiritual connection between our mouths, and God’s ear. Therefore, brothers and sisters, the next time we open our mouth, let blessings came out of it.

Stay blessed.



If you would like to study more about the power of the spoken words, I found a very good website explaining this in great detail, divided in several blog posts.