Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
May the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 2:21)
---The amazing words from one of the most blameless and upright men of the Bible. He is admitting here the fact that, nothing in this life belongs to us, even the seemingly “our own “things... And that He who has given these gifts in our lives has the absolute authority over them, be it to take them back or to ask us to give account for them…and if that’s true, we have a huge responsibility of using those God-given things, in a manner pleasing to Him, in a manner which adds to His glory! Large or small, doesn’t matter here, what matters is how faithful you are, at utilizing how much ever He has given you.
Which are those gifts which our Master has allowed us to possess and keep for some time? Well, that’s a long list! But let me pick up a few which I think, are really valuable…
I consider, the moments we get on this earth as the most precious , but ironically the most neglected one among the things that God has given us! If we sit back and analyze one day of ours, we realize that we are getting 86400 seconds in our life , in the form of each day …What do we do with that? Yes, the major portion of those seconds is eaten away by the worldly responsibilities we have, which of course are very important and unavoidable. But if we scrutinize a bit deeper, isn’t there really some more time which we can spend for the things of the above? If we can reduce our “ face booking “ time a bit, cut off a few seconds from the long phone calls, steal off some minutes from the afternoon nap in weekends, isn’t there a real possibility to give some more time for our Savior – in terms of including some more souls in our prayer list, putting aside some more time to listen to His word, or making new attempts to spread the word around, that He is the only one mighty to save?( Actually, I am mostly talking to myself here, because I fail miserably in this aspect, often. But if this can be a wake-up call for myself and a few more people around, I am more than happy!) Imagine a case when we are sure that we just have 2 days left on this planet. How diligent we will be, in rushing and carrying out the things which we feel we ought to do…I think that’s the zeal, that’s the spirit our Master wants from us! If we look around, we see so many people passing away from this world, just like a fugacious flower, literally. There are a few among them who made the most out of the little time God gifted them and a majority, for whom the passing away meant an abrupt and unexpected dismissal from here, leaving behind a lot of “ could have”s and unfulfilled tasks. Do you really think that you are far greater than them, that God is allowing you to enjoy a few more moments here? You and I know very well, that we are not, even a bit! It’s just His grace and mercy that we are being permitted a few more seconds here, but none of us knows, how much more. So let’s be more cautious in spending the moments He gifts us and let’s get out of the attitude “I am saved; So eat and drink, anyway tomorrow I will be in heaven!” Our Master really wants us to give a good record of how we utilized the time He allowed us to possess.
Talents form another wonderful gift that God presented in our lives. There are at least a few amongst us, who wonder” Talent??? Is there something like that, in me too?!” Yes! Our God is not at all biased...He has put in each and every one of us, a few of them, as per His will and purpose for our lives. You might have got only one when compared to the ten, your church friend has got. But still, it’s quite a lot! Or you can make quite a lot out of it by His blessings. That’s what the little boy with the five loaves of bread did. Ask God’s grace in realizing the talent He has planted in you and work on that with Him. He can definitely perform miracles through you…Appreciate the good voice He gave you, use it for singing about His glory alone; You think you ‘ve got good painting skills, use it to sketch the tales of His glory and thereby make a few more people know about Him; Think about your writing skills, devise out a plan with God on how it can be used for spreading the word about Him; You are very good at studying and at work- See how you can be a good instrument for Him through the positions you are in; You find yourself not good at anything , than just being friendly – Just continue being friendly and making friends, but try to bring them closer to your Saviour , by showing Him to them through your relations with them; and if not any of these things, think of ways by which you can extend your prayer to a few more people. If you really have the desire, God will show you the ways and means by which you can be fruitful for Him. But remember, the use of our talents in an efficient manner, does not exclude us from our major responsibility of living according to His will, in all the other aspects of our life. You may be a good singer for Christ, but if your personal life is not an example, then it’s more like crucifying Christ through your talent. You will bring more shame than glory to His name.
This is one area where many people stumble! How many times we have promised “God, If I get through this interview I will definitely give this much to you from my every salary…” And think, how many times we were true to the word we gave, wholeheartedly! How many times we have easily taken out 3000 bucks for adding one more apparel to our already overflowing wardrobe, whereas thought over again and again, to give just 500 Rupees as an offering. Of course, it’s really difficult to give away our “hard-earned” money that we find so many excuses to keep it in our own account-“Who knows, this financial request in the name of ministry is not fake? Does that work really need this much support?” Of course, we have to check a bit for the credentials but declaring that I will support this ministry only if I get the complete breakdown of the ministry they are doing, just brings out your willingness to give for it. Even with all your credibility checks, you may be giving to a wrong person at times; But God definitely sees your heart. Pray and plan with God how to offer from the finances He has allowed you to possess, so that it will be properly used for the expansion of His kingdom, for giving out some relief to your needy fellow believers, for helping out some destitute fellow beings around you. Remember, this help today, may assist you tomorrow to gain that soul for Christ…
By men, I mean the people in your life, the relations you have, the friends you make…There is one thing I strongly believe- God has a purpose for putting you in a specific family, specific surroundings, specific place or specific position. He expects us to be true ambassadors for Christ wherever we are. Reach out to the people you have in your life, without forgetting this heavenly mission you have been assigned, from the day when you met your Lord. There are lots of people who make a day of mine –It includes my family members – immediate and distant, friends who share my moments, colleagues and bosses who I interact with, the cab driver who takes me to office/college, the person who is sitting next to me in the bus/flight, etc. etc…We think, we care about or at least acknowledge their existence in our lives…But are we concerned about their eternal destiny, even a bit? Don’t you think that God would be expecting an explanation from us, if these people whom He made a part of our lives, perish without tasting this good God in their lives? It’s difficult to gain every person that comes across your way, but at least we can make one attempt per person to tell them of the amazing grace that you found in your life. Yes, God is able to make you the missionary for your place…
If we consider ourselves accountable for , at least the above mentioned things, believe me, that will change our lives drastically. We can surely be more useful instruments for our God, who gave us everything He has. And I feel we need the backing up of four important factors for all efforts in this regard, to be fruitful.
One, A prayerful life: Submit everything to God before you take a step in any direction. Tell God that these are your plans for spreading His word. Tell him that you want better utilization of your time. Tell him that you want these people in your life to know Him. Ask Him the grace to fulfill all your new vows and decisions.
Two, A good understanding of His word: Without being strongly rooted in God’s word, you won’t know whether this particular action of yours is as per His will or not, because that’s where God has expressed His expectation about us. Take a new decision to know Him more through His word. Allocate more time from your busy life in this regard.
Three, An urge to obey God: Our Father expects us to walk in the ways which His son has already shown us. And our God is the One who does not delight in sacrifices and deeds as much as in obeying His voice. So no matter in what all ways, you spread His word and find means to glorify Him, He won’t be pleased unless He sees that ‘willingness to obey’ in you. I don’t think He wants you to be another Jonah for Him!
Four, A change of attitude: We often say “Your attitude determines your altitude”. That’s true here too. In the parable of the Talents( Matthew 25:14-30) , the Master calls the servant who didn’t put his one talent to work, as “Wicked , lazy servant!” The adjective ‘lazy’ is justifiable here. But why wicked? See the servant’s statement in verses 24 and 25. That shows his wicked attitude. As per what I could get ,this is what he would have thought “ Why should I toil and give back more to my Master ?; If I work hard and gain one more talent , how will it belong to the Master then?”. Often this is our attitude too! Why should I use the little time I get, for God, when I can relax then or take a break after my busy work? Why should I use the talent I have, for God, when I have the chance for gaining many admirers with that? Why should I use the money I have, for God, when I can live a little more comfortable using that? Why should I choose to tell the people around me ,about God, and earn their ill feelings when I can just continue enjoying their company? The Master calls this attitude wicked. Indeed, it is more of wickedness than laziness!
Let’s be a bit more cautious with our time, talents , money and men so that we might get a chance to hear these words of appreciation from our Master- ” Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant!”
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Women are often considered to be great ‘multi taskers’. “Woman's brain has a larger corpus callosum, the space between right and left hemispheres of the brain”,” Woman’s brain has more dendritic connections between brain cells than man’s” : The explanations by science go on like this…But I believe, that’s because God envisioned her to be like that! You want evidence??? Well, there are many... Do you think you want a stronger proof than Proverbs Chapter 31? Look at the description of a noble woman there - She gets up early in the morning, when it is still dark...She takes care of her husband, children, servants and animals, well...Her husband is respected because of her and he has full confidence in her... She does trading in a very profitable manner...She speaks with wisdom and gives out wise instruction and decisions...She even foresees winter and makes scarlet clothes for her family...Single-handedly, how many tasks she manages at the same time! And what’s the secret of her success as a great multi-tasker and manager here? It’s nothing other than her fear of or in other words, her complete dependence on God the Almighty.
But frankly, I have often wondered, “Is this really possible by a woman?” And the life of Deborah tells me “Yes!”
The character study of Deborah left me completely enthralled and inspired! She single-handedly handled four major roles, loaded with heavy responsibilities- Wife, Prophetess, Judge and Military leader. Just one of these is huge enough to make your life the busiest in the world! But Deborah maintained a perfect balance among all these God-given roles of her life-not a bit more and not a bit less than what each role required...As her name suggests (Deborah = Bee) she was just like a honey bee. She had all the three main attributes that a honey bee stands for -zeal, perseverance and patience.
How was Deborah- just an ordinary woman like us –able to do such wonderful and awesome things in her life? There are lots to say about this: But I would like to list out just a few things which seemed very striking to me.
First and foremost is her highest degree of faith and dependence on God. The age we are talking about here, is one where even the strong men among the people (
Secondly, she realized that every single role she plays in her life is assigned by God Himself and that it is equally important before Him. So she was faithful and maintained a perfect balance among all spheres of her life. She was the best with regard to family, spiritual, professional, social, physical and intellectual aspects of her life. How do we know? The Scripture doesn’t say much about her family life; but one thing we can boldly say, she never neglected her family life on account of her other roles. She was a good wife...She took care of her family well, and probably with the support from her husband and other members of the family. (Otherwise, I believe, the Spirit of God would have definitely mentioned the mess she created in her family in the name of the other heavy responsibilities she took on her shoulders, as a warning for us- the women of today!)Her second role characterizes her spiritual life. She was a prophetess. We read the attributes and requirements of a prophet or prophetess in various portions in the Bible. There are many, but the most important one among them is that a prophet is or should be one who spends time with God and in His presence, listens from Him, talks to Him and conveys to the people what God has to tell them. So Deborah, being a prophetess, was definitely a person who spends time with her God in spite of all the busyness of her life. This speaks volumes about the well being of her spiritual life. Her third role - Judge, though it’s more of a spiritual kind, I would like to consider this as her profession. She was an excellent judge. She used to settle disputes among the people, spelling out decisions with the wisdom she acquired from God. Her fourth role, in a way refers to the social aspect of her life. Her concern and burden for the society she lives in and her people is clearly evident here. And God saw this care and when the time came, He raised her to the position of a military leader, to guide her people against the enemy successfully. And there are a few minute things (as we think of them usually, but actually very important) to be noticed here. Physically also, she was fit. How many of us can even think of climbing up and down mountains, in pursuit of a large army? This thought makes me assume that Deborah took good care of her physical health also…And is there any mention about her intellect and knowledge about the world she lives in? The citation that the whole Israelites went to ask decisions from her, as well as the wonderful song sung (written) by Deborah with Abinoam mentioned in Judges Chapter 5, which is full of masterly figures of speech and connotations are enough to state about her intellect and the awareness she had about the happenings around her. Her remarks in the song about the events in the history of various Israelite tribes strengthen this supposition. Deborah knew that each and every role she has to play in her life- be it a wife, a judge, a military leader or a writer- was assigned to her by God .So she took good care of every gift He gave her and faithfully and wonderfully accomplished all her tasks. So she was used for His glory, just like Joseph, Daniel and many others.
Thirdly, she was raised by God. Or in other words, it was not she who raised herself, thinking,” I have got all these wonderful talents!” It was God himself who instructed her in every way and she didn’t do anything which God didn’t ask her to do and she did whatever God asked her to do. I like to think in this manner- At first, Deborah might have been just a wife; May be because of her faithfulness in that role and her closeness to God, He might have raised her as a prophetess, gifting her with the power of prophecy; Her faithful use of this gift would have made her known and accepted among the people and thus God upgraded her as a judge who gives out wise decisions for His people; And finally her faithful service as a judge could have made God step up her to the position of even a military leader! The fact that she didn’t seek out position for herself doesn’t suggest that she kept on waiting her whole lifetime for her chance to come, which is a common mistake we all do; Instead, she was prepared and eager to take up the chance whenever God gave her an opportunity.
Let Deborah inspire each one of us to utilize the multi tasking capabilities that God has put in us, to the fullest, by clinging onto Him and making use of each and every opportunity He gives us…Remember, God’s work will be done anyway, through you, me or anyone else…But my life is the only one chance I get, for me to be the means for it!
(Note: The thoughts I have put here are inspired by the Bible study conducted in
Lord, Can I be a candle for you?...
Big or tiny, Doesn’t matter,
As long as I reflect a bit of your light...
Known or unknown, Doesn’t matter,
As long as a little darkness moves out through me...
Long lived or short lived, Doesn’t matter,
As long as I melt away for you...
I will be glad if this attempt spreads out at least some light from, what my Lord has poured out in my life...Let it be for His glory alone!!!