December 31, 2007

Walking back through my phases of life

Sitting back at the end of this year, I really find myself in mixed emotions of what has happened to me through this year. Situations in life that made me sit back and take a second thought about myself. Times of learning and times of corrections, times of joy and times of deep sorrow, times of testing and times of failures; all this molded myself to what I am today. I find myself really hard to express myself and am incomplete in front of God.

This year began with studies that completely drained me out. For the first few months, time flew as it were just 8 hours per day. It was a new atmosphere for me for this was the first time I joined a coaching classes for studies. It was something I didn't preferred to do but somehow coped up with it. As time went by God was teaching me all through those months certain lessons through times of testing and troubles to really depend on God.

Earlier this year, God gave me the boldness to testify to the world that the he was indeed the Lord of my life through the water's of baptism. Baptism initially meant to me just a ticket to partake in the Lord's supper in the church. But then as time passed by, God really taught me what exactly does it mean to be baptized into the body of Christ. It meant to live like him. It meant from then on the world would recognize me as a Christian. But I still ask myself this question, "Does the world really see the Christ in me?" I really find myself unworthy to answer this question before God. As times would change and fashions would change I would find myself soon getting accustomed to those activities. But at the same time, I engaged myself a lot in the church activities and hated to miss any church meetings or activities. I would take pride in this that I could regularly attend the church activities and despised others who would find some excuse for being there. But God still loved me and corrected me hard. When I would hear sermons statements such as "coming to church regularly doesn't prove that you are growing as a Christian" really would prick me. He put situations and tests before me that made me come back home and think, "where was I wrong, what have I done wrong?" though I considered myself perfect in whatever I did. But then God put down my pride and made me to be humble before him, accept my failures humbly. It was only after that I could really find myself being used in the ministry. He taught me that the church is not my toy but his masterpiece and it is not I who can do anything for the church but God that does something through you.

God has blessed me with so many spiritual gifts that I could discover this year. Areas in life where I thought I could never be used, God is using me in so many ways. It was this year that I learnt that I could write stuff. It wasn't easy for me in the beginning to write a blog and keep updating it regularly. But God helped me find a purpose in writing too. Internet is such a wide spread media that even a small thing spreads like wildfire. God gave me a vision to reach out to this world through this blog and I could see him help me throughout. In church, he helped me use my talents in the singing ministry. Also he has helped me use my talents in the various children's clubs that have started. I could never find myself lacking anything because when I look back at the things that he has given me, it is a thing so wonderful almost too wonderful to be that God could love me so much.

"Could God really love me so much?" Its very difficult for me to answer this question but find myself surviving each day because of his love through all my unworthiness. When I look at my life and its failures, I find myself ashamed and depressed to think that I am such kind of a person who can give up myself to fulfill momentary pleasures of the flesh. Adolescent problems really troubled me much and I still pray to God daily to help me through these years. Pride in knowing much and being blessed in so many ways than others sometimes would take over myself. My personal life at times wouldn't quite live up to the claim that I made to be a child of God. I would really rebel against my parents and would try to find out all the possible faults in them. It was an age that I at the beginning found it cool in hanging out with my friends but later as time passed by God taught me to define the purpose of everything I did according to his will and use the stuff that he has given me for his glory. It was only then I found a satisfaction in everything God helped me to do and blessed my work. I could see myself really edifying others and being truly used in the church.

Various camps and programs that were held build me up spiritually. Much much more things God has done to me and I remember his faithfulness to an unworthy creation of his. I have put before you a quick glimpse of what my life has been this year.. Though I've put things n a hidden and general view, I really find myself able to relate each and every phrase written down here. AS this year goes by, I'd say, "It's the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in my eyes."

December 20, 2007

request to you readers

I am kind of busy now a days and dont get much time to sit and write an article on the computer, that's why I am a bit late than usual in getting them posted. Forgive me for that.

However, I have got a lot of stuff to share with you which I have come across and been learning hope you bear with me.

December 08, 2007

A hectic mixed day

Today was a very mixed day for me. All the possible things that shouldn't have happened happened. It was in the college, my friends and i was sitting in the library preparing my journal for practicals.

The day before I got hold of my mp3 player which was with my sister, when she came home for holidays. So I loaded it with plenty of new songs and was eager to listen to it.

So in the library I thought instead of just wasting time by just writing the journal, I'll listen to the player too along. It was against the library rule to use any gadget from our side in the college. I didn't care and didn't bother because the 'bad' supervisor wasn't there around.
After sometime that fellow turned up and saw me with the mp3 player and confiscated it along with my identity card. I was so shaken and scared at the first place. He wouldn't return it though I begged him a lot. Well as though that scare wasn't enough, he added to the whole incident a fine of Rs.200\- That really bugged me. I wasn't such kind of a person who could escape easily with such fines. Forget telling it to my parents, they would 'kill' me before giving me the cash. Begging to my friends wasn't my cup of tea. Pleading and putting a sad sorry face before people isn't what I am famous for, you would know that better. Well my friends insisted me to stay there longer and keep bugging him, who knows if he could change his mind. But that fellow wasn't in any mood of changing his mind but frightened me further by telling me that he would take me to the principal and increase the fine.

By now it had become time for practicals and that fellow insisted that I go and do my work and come back with the money. About the money, I am almost broke always and do carry money enough for travel and pocket money is something I never get unless if I do some savings here and there. Now by this time that fellow had gone out for some work. Taking advantage of the opportunity, I went and asked the peon to hand it over. He was willing to but the supervisor turned out to be more clever. He locked the draw and went. Then we went searching for him franticly but couldn't find him. But when he came back, I wasn't alone. I bombarded him with the suggestions of my friends who accompanied me to help me out. Finally he put on a very "I'm doing a favor to you" kind of a face and handed it over to me. When he realized that I was broke, he lost hopes of getting money for his evening snack. I think so that is why he handed it over to me.

In class, it became a public talk among my friends. Everyone I met asked me about hat happened. It was kind of embarrassing. Though all that mix up and tension was enough, my friends started bugging me in the class. They started scribbling on my rough book, though it wasn't one sided. After sometime, someone came up with a brilliant idea of throwing water on me. While writing the journal they made sure that they pour some water on my T-shirt. I was helpless without water. My friend reminded of his past incidents of how we poured water on him in school, joined in the cheer team. It was a wet day in class, though they landed with all the possible types of scribbles on their book which was my only hope of offense.

It was indeed a good ending to a bad experience. I enjoyed the day a lot.

December 05, 2007

The value of life

How frail is a human being. How easily does he fall ill and succumb to diseases, fall prey to accidents and mishaps. Life could begin for some today and end today itself. While some people who have so many ambitions and aims in life find themselves unfortunate to die very early, leaving behind wealth and possessions for which they have labored sweat and bread for it.

The other people who are unfortunate to have been born with some kind of an illness or disease or deformation of body, find themselves ruined in life, stuck in a bed or a wheel chair for life. Its very sad to think about the things they miss in life and how unfortunate they are that they cannot live a normal life like many of us.

Recently while I was traveling by train back home from classes, I saw a boy walking on the platform waiting for a train. From far he looked like a normal fellow. But as my train approached closer, I took a closer look at him because there was something different in him. When I saw him, I was completely taken surprised. His face was just mere skeleton. The whole face was burnt and he was left with just a little flesh on his face. He looked so gross.
That time I thanked God for what I am and his grace upon me and for keeping me safe thus far.

Another incident that really grossed me out. The other day my mother had gone down for a walk and she saw a huge crowd gathered at a close by junction. It was a man who had been run over a truck. If that wasn't bad, let me tell you more. That man had been run over by a truck on his head. His head disintegrated into small pieces and his brain squeezed out all over the place. After a while, people couldn't even find traces of his head and blood kept oozing out of his body. People scrambled around and gathered mud to put on his body to stop the bleeding. Then they covered his body and waited for the responsible(police, ambulance) to take over.

The next day we came to know that that man who died was a colleague of my friend's father. That man had a good day at work that day. That evening he was traveling to the school to pick up his two daughters. But who knew that was the last day in his life...

When I look back I just got to say that I am thankful to God for what I am, how he has preserved me thus far. Every step that I take is according to his will and all planned in his sovereign will. The good health that he has given me, for keeping me from harm and illness is all just by his grace and his mercy upon me.

Life is so small and unpredictable, who knows what can happen tomorrow or the very next moment.
Give thanks to God for what he is to you, thats all that we can do and lets live for Christ.

November 24, 2007

Will a man rob God?

Can a man rob God? Is it possible for a puny creature like man to rob God from his riches and honor? Will a man rob God? Will you rob God? Can you rob God? Are you robbing God?

God created man for a single purpose, i.e. to have fellowship with him. Funny, but now-a-days man want to do everything else than fellowship with God. Atheism has grown to such a extent that in a couple of years it will have the majority of the population of the world under it's clutches. People are now days beginning to say, "It is vain to serve God. What profit is God to us?" People have begun to call the proud happy, they that do wrong as righteous and they that tempt God are set free. Well the world is reaching its last times as mentioned in the Bible and prophesied years ago. The world is robbing God of what is due to him and that is evident from the present situations we live in the world.

Now, what role do I play in this discussion? Aren't these for the people who do not believe on Christ? I am a Christian and how can I rob God? I am his child and how can a child rob his father of anything? If I am robbing God of something, what is it?

The Israelites were famous for turning to other gods and worshiping them. God hated that and punished them severely. He said his name is Jealous. He is a very possessive God and he hated to see them worshiping other gods which were their own imaginations.
How much do we find ourself in the shoes of these Israelites! We do not worship other gods but do worship so many other things more than god. So what is worship?

Worship according to the dictionary means adoration or attributing worth to something.
Worship is "a performance to show your honor, reverence, adoration, worth or admiration to someone else much more esteemed by you." Worship is a lifestyle. It begins with a right attitude and ends with a right action.
It is something you involve yourself and not an attitude alone.

God looking at the present Christians says that you have cursed me with a curse.
Can we curse God? Curse....?
He further says that you have robbed me even each one of you.
Me...robbing God? Me...?

God wants your offerings and tithes i.e. your worship. He has created man to have fellowship with him, i.e. worship him, talk to him as a child talks to his father. If we don't worship him we are robbing him of what is due to him. We are programmed by God to worship and have fellowship with him and if we don't do that, it would be better that we should be discarded and put in waste. He says that by not worshiping him we are putting him under a curse. Its hard to believe that but that's what he says (Malachi 3: 8,9).

So what does God expect of me? How am I supposed to worship God? Well worship is an expensive affair. When a guy goes out on a date with a girl, its assured that the guy's going to burn a hole in his pocket. It requires a lot of preparation and understanding. How can we worship God without knowing him? It requires one to be in his presence for a quality amount of time. One's offering has to rise up as a sweet smelling savor. Worship is a daily affair and not a Sunday 'prayer'. Its a lifestyle and a pattern of life. Worship is not just saying to God that you love him and adore him but showing the same to the world, practicing the same in one's daily life. Worship is like telling your parents that you love them and proving it to them. God doesn't get flattered by words and offerings that do not prove themselves are a waste to him.

The blessings for a worshiping believer are great. The Lord will continuously purge the believer under the refiner's fire and make him clean that he offer a righteous offering. He will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings so much that there won't be any more room to contain it. They that fellowshipped with God fellowshipped with each other and God hearkened to them and answered their prayers and wrote it in his book of remembrance. He kept them as his jewels and spared them from his wrath. Then shall the world see the difference between the wicked and the righteous and return back to the living God. All the people shall call you blessed and the church, your house shall be called a delightsome land.

Prove God your worship. God expects each one of us to give him what is due to him. Lets look back to our lives and see whether we are robbing God of what is his, are we putting him under a curse. And lets remember that worship is celebration, celebration for what God has done for us and what he is to us.

November 20, 2007

I minister....but.."Is it enough?"

Two years ago, our church had arranged a child Evangelism Program (CET) for those people who were interested in ministering among children. After months of prayer and preparation, this program was conducted exclusively for 40 trainees for 6 days. Training was intense through sleepless nights and great hard work put in by each trainee, they slowly learned the basics of child evangelism.

The results of this program was seen a couple of months later when few of them who were led by the Lord decide to start a Children's Club (CC) at their local area. A Children's club is a small gathering of children (mainly non-Christians) from a local area. Started with one now has gone up to five and they plan to have a sixth one. The objective of the CC is to teach the Word of God to these non-Christian children through songs, stories, memory verses and games and thus share the gospel of Christ to these young hearts. Put together all the CC, we have around 150 children attending the CC regularly! Praise God for that.

This ministry slowly started growing and this month our church could organize a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for these kids. After much prayer and seeking God's will, this 3 day long VBS was organized for the children from all the 5 CC. Praise God we had an average of 135 children who attended this VBS. Stories were taught from the Bible, new songs were taught, memory verses were taught, games were played, interactive sessions were conducted for these kids and much more, so that the word of God could change the lives of these children

When you look at these children, they come mainly from the poor sector of the society, living in slums and people who can do a little more than live from hand to mouth. However, when you go to pick them up for the VBS, they are out of their bed in a jiffy and hurriedly they will make sure that they be there along with a couple of friends. Even before the song starts they come prepared with a list of their own songs which they have learnt before during the Children's club. They sing their lungs out during the singing sessions which sometimes makes us ashamed because we would never have heard the church sing together so loud. The enthusiasm in them is always vibrant those three hours of learning and fun. By time, they forget about their problems and worries and participate in each activity with a smile coupled with joy which we hardly find in people now-a-days.

Behind the scenes, there were many people labouring hard for these ministries. People volunteering right from the youngest to the eldest. People who took leave from their jobs to make it sure that all go well. People who ensured that the children could be transported safely. People who took the initiative in getting the snacks ready, in getting the various arrangements for gifts and stationary possible. People who spent hours preparing from the Word of God to teach these children. People who ensured all the people be informed so that they can pray regularly for the VBS. People who spent hours in the presence of the Lord in prayer and intersession for this ministry. People who played music and sang songs, did the choreography for the songs.

Only few has been mentioned and a lot left unmentioned. We had around 50 volunteers who actively participated in ensuring the VBS went well. An encouragement to the assembly and a new warmth to the volunteers who were challenged to serve God.
"Its the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes."

"But is it enough?"

"Have all that we have been doing enough? Should our ministry be restricted only to that level? Should we constrain ourselves and contain the love of Christ?"

Certainly no!
A ministry is just a stepping stone to expand it for God at various levels at various fields. The harvest is ready but will the laborers be few? Serving God cannot be just restricted to a mission field. It spreads to and first begins at the church where we have fellowship with our brethren. Its the love of God that motivates each one of us to his service. It manifests itself among the society in which we live and slowly reaches out to this world. It understands the need of the hour and fulfills a humble ministry towards it.

We serve not people but God. Therefore let's glorify God through the ministry. God doesn't look at the amount of stuff that I have done for him, neither looks he at how many people came to know about the service I did for him, nor does he look at the merits I have in church. God, well, just looks at the attitude with which I serve him. He's not bothered about the level of service that I have done for him, but he is worried whether I did it for Christ or not, whether I did it in the right spirit. He calls us to an humble service keeping behind the strength of self.

A parable Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 20:1-16
A well known parable it is. But the message conveyed in the parable is very important. The laborers who had come early in the morning were the selected lot of skilled laborers who boasted in their merits. Hence they argued with the Lord over their wages and settled to a penny. But the people who were hired later weren't the skilled lot of people and bargaining for their wages weren't their cup of tea because they were forced to be happy with whatever the Lord gave; after all they were slaves with no merits. At the end of the day we see the Lord giving each one of them equal wages from the last to the first.

The Lord wasn't worried about how much they served him but was looking at their heart to see whether they did it actually for him. The skilled lot of people boasted about their art in labouring while the other lot didn't have anything to boast about. At the end of the day, the fellow who worked for 12 hours earned the same wages as that fellow who worked for 1 hour.

Lot more to learn from the parable but time suffices me. Denying your self by surrendering yourself to the Master's will as his slaves, not expecting anything from him, laboring for him with a humble heart and with the right attitude is what service can be defined as.

At the end of the day, one who has served the Lord sincerely should say,
"We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke 17:10)

God has blessed each one of us with so many talents and spiritual gifts. Let's identify them and use them for his service, for his ministry, for his glory.

I am really keen on knowing what are the different ways you have served God and what are the different ways in which we can serve God and thus reach out to the church, the believers, friends and the world as a whole. Please comment

November 02, 2007

Could you spare me some time?

It all started when Satan seemed rather happy and pleased, came to God wanting to tell him something. God looked at Satan and saw the gleam on his face and asked him what the matter was. Satan told him, “Lord, you have failed. I was going to and fro the earth only to find all the so called modern servants of Christ failing in the areas where their ancestors stood firm.” So God sent out Michael to go and see whether the report was true or not.

Michael found Noah sitting all alone in his study room. So he asked him, “Noah could you spare some time for God?”

Noah said, “Shh! don’t disturb me. I am working on a project. It’s a huge ark. Its got to carry 10,000 odd passengers…lots of efforts needed to be put in it…Maybe, some other time.”

So Michael went to Abraham. Abraham was sitting under the moonlight looking up to the sky quite worried and while he kept uttering something to himself. Michael asked him, “Abraham, could you spare some time for God?”

Abraham lost in his own thoughts said, “I wonder what God might have meant by saying that my seed will be as the stars of the heaven. You know it’s kind of weird; I don’t even have a son. Well if it is going to be true, I’d at least have to know how many children I will have. Yea, so don’t bother me now…1005, 1006, 1007…1200, 1201, 1202…”

Disappointed Michael went to Joshua. He was sharpening his sword near the river Jordan. He asked him, “Joshua, could you spare some time for God?”

Joshua rather busy said, “Lots of planning to be done. Jericho is a big city. To bring it down by just marching silently around it…ehhh…that’s going to be difficult. These people…these people you know, they are never silent. Maybe because of them the wall will never fall down...then, I’ll chop their heads and feed it to the caterpillars. Why, how come you could only find me…isn’t there anyone else? I’m busy and tensed too…”

Silently after receiving a mouthful from Joshua, Michael went to Job. “Well he is God’s most respected servant, maybe, he will listen to God.” So he asked Job, “Job, could you spare some time for God?” Job was on the top of a mountain preparing an altar.

Job all frustrated said, “My children…they are so useless. They have to keep sinning. Well am not I the righteous man and I got to do all the sacrifices for them? Now I don’t have any cattle left for sacrifice. I’ll pray to God that my children too perish with the cattle…less talk about my wife. Don’t bother me now. I am all irritated or you know what will happen…”

So Michael went to and fro, here and there to each of God’s so called modern servants who failed to live up to the expectations of God, but couldn’t even find one who could spare some time for God. Disappointed he went back to God and gave him the report. God told him, “Michael, you haven’t yet asked one person. Go to the person who is reading this article and ask him the same question. Let’s see whether he will be able to spare me some time.”

October 15, 2007

The Unprofitable servants

I remember Mordecai's response to Esther when she as a queen wasn't taking any steps to save the Jews:

"Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews.For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

A parable that Jesus told his disciples about the talents that were given by the lord to his servants:

"But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strowed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Another parable that Jesus told to his disciples about the great feast that was made by a certain man:
"Then said he(Jesus) unto him,
A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse...
So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper."

You might be wondering what exactly I am trying to tell through this article. Read further.

Recently our church had begun with a new meeting: Hindi Bible Study -- for the people who couldn't understand English and wanted to learn the Word of God. We didn't expect much people to take part in this meeting. But the response we got was overwhelming. Not only did we get a good response but also the number of people attending gradually started increasing. The people that attended this gathering were mostly the poor and the blind, people who do not have a good family, and the newly converts. They now-a-days make it a point to come even for the prayer meetings.

Well, a very important thing to notice here. Now a days we don't even have time for God and his church. We think that we have enough knowledge from the Bible and are living a 'spiritual' life. Attending church and being a part in the various church activities has become of no importance. That's why we see so less a number of people eager for God and excited to do something for him. As Mordecai said to Esther, God wants us to learn this very lesson; if we are not available for God and are lost in our own cozy life, God will refuse to use us for his ministry. He doesn't need people who do not need him. But he will raise up people from areas so unprofitable to make them vessels unto honor and fit for the Master's use. Keeping this in mind lets read those two parables again and see where exactly do we stand.

October 06, 2007

The Unseen Mask

People tend to develop a respect or a kind of affection to a person whom they admire or try to imitate. Imagine yourself being in front of the person you admire the most, say, Thierry Henry. You know that he is the greatest footballer around and getting an autograph or a tip or two on your football skills would be something amazing. I doubt if you had other friends along with you, giving them an opportunity to meet him or talk to him would be something irrelevant because at that moment the world revolves only around the two of you.

Each one of us has someone or the other we admire. It may be our bosses in our work place, it may be our parents, it may be our teachers or it may be someone in the friend circle we hang out with. We try our best to make our impression prominent over there that we can gain their attention and respect from them. I remember the people I admire. Its like when I’m with them, I tend to forget the kind of life that I live, and tend to walk in their footsteps, try to follow their lifestyle, try to talk they way they talk.

It is this mask we carry around that is so many times unseen by others but unknowingly or knowingly silently seen by ourselves. We tend to put on their character and their lifestyle over ours just that we can become like them. The hidden craving in us, forces us to imitate them in our lives, changing the “old me” to a “new he-on-me” This mask can be good or bad all depending on the person we try to imitate.

We are a new creation. No more the old man lives in us since the time Christ came into our lives. He has given us a new body. But have we put on Christ or is the world still lurking around with those stained garments? He has given us new robes of righteousness, but have we put them on? It is the ‘mask’ of Christ that should be seen in our lives not the mask of this world. But we most of the times find our ‘masks’ not on ourselves but on some old cupboard caught in all the possible cobwebs. It is when we adorn ourselves with this ‘mask’ of Christ, will the world see the Christ in us.

“Munna, Allah par barosa rekho…”

Lately, I had been to the barber shop. Entered in to find no customers, but two barbers sitting together eating and chatting. Lately, the two of them were managing that shop, since the others had gone to their native place. As I entered in, one of them offered me some of their snacks. I in a hurry said “No” as I was getting late to go back home and expected them to get my hair cut as soon as possible. Out of the two of them, one of them was old and the other was of my age. Realizing that I was in a hurry, the older man stepped in for cutting my hair. By that time, the younger fellow too got a customer.

I was a frequent customer in that shop and they knew me well. They were people who enjoyed talking to each other as they did their work. They would joke, laugh, and comment on various situations and all those kind of things. The older man would call the younger fellow “Munna” i.e ‘my child’. Though they weren’t of the same blood yet their relation was as of a father and son.

As time passed by, the younger fellow started uttering something and began complaining about something. He seemed troubled and worried. The older man kept telling him, “Munna, Allah par barosa rekho…” i.e. to say “My son, have faith on Allah” They were Muslims and the older man seemed more religious out of the two. He kept advising the boy to keep faith on Allah and not worry about the problem that he was facing. But the boy didn’t seem comforted and kept orating his complains. Yet the older man didn’t give up but kept advising him to have faith in Allah. He told him that nothing is impossible with Allah; just trust him. As the conversation kept going, the younger fellow began to feel comforted through those advices.

This small incident that happened really made me to take out some time to just think about myself. Times when problems arise, when situations seem not going my way, how much I fail in putting my faith in God! I say, God is my refuge and my strength, a very present help in times of trouble, but how many times have I actually asked God for his help in faith? Putting my trust on him even in the smallest of situations was something I found lacking in myself. Though these people did not know the true God was, yet they had faith in their god. We Christians after coming to the right knowledge of God, fail in exercising our faith in God. Let’s strengthen our faith in Christ and look to his will for everything.

October 01, 2007

Joseph of Arimathaea

After the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a man named Joseph from the city of Arimathaea came and begged Pilate for the body of Jesus. Pilate shocked to hear that Jesus died a couple of hours earlier than the expected time, failed to believe that the message was true. After conformation, Pilate agreed to release the body of Jesus to this man.

Joseph was a devout man known for his good works. He was a counselor. He was also a God fearing man who waited for the kingdom of God i.e. Jesus Christ. Mention of Joseph in the Bible is really short; just 4 verses dedicated in three gospels. Four things about what he did is mentioned in the Bible – he begged for the body of Christ, he took it down from the cross, he wrapped it in clean fine twined linen and he lay it in a new sepulcher that was carved from a single rock.

God really appreciated the small unseen duty that Joseph did. That’s why we read about him in the Bible. When Christ was alive, everyone loved to be there besides him to learn of him, to see miracles, to receive his blessings. But when he died, very few were there to repay him at least by giving him a proper burial.

Through the four things that Joseph did, we see an immense act of worship coming from a true heart that actually recognized the person of Christ. He was in very close fellowship with God. He could see the beauty of Christ even in that marred face on the cross of Calvary. This is the first lesson we need to learn; only by developing a close fellowship with God, will you be able to admire the person of Christ. Only then can we be able to worship Christ in Spirit and in truth.

Next we see him begging for the body of Christ. Here we can see the act of humility. He put away his self, his qualification, his status among the people to come and worship this person who had given him all of those things. Why should Pilate release the body to any one who suddenly comes out of the blue? It was the act of humility that made Pilate to agree upon releasing the body to him. We, when we come to worship Christ, come with all our qualifications, status and oratory gifts to out do the others who have also gathered along with us for worship. Christ accepts worship only from a heart that has no merits of its own. Once the self comes in our worship, that’s when we see only our self and not God. That’s when we begin to see only what kind of a life lived before coming to know Christ rather than seeing the work of Christ in us. Worship is defined as adoration. Understand the meaning of this word itself defines the pattern given to us for worship.

Next we see him removing the body from the cross. While removing it, he might have seen all those scars and bruises that were there all throughout the body. He realized the pain and sufferings that Christ had to go through. He could partly understand the sufferings of Christ. This is the next thing that worship calls us to. Only when we ourselves see the scars and bruises on his body, will we be able to realize the intensity of sufferings that he had to go through. Worship requires us to see the work of Christ on the cross of Calvary, the sufferings which we had to suffer, he took upon himself. Every step that we take in removing the body of Christ from the cross will make to realize more and more the beauty in the work that Christ did for the redemption of our souls.

We then see him wrapping the body in a clean fine twined linen cloth. It was traditional for the priests to wear a linen cloth. Joseph understood the purpose behind the death of Christ. Christ had come in to this world to bridge the gap between God and man. God’s law stated that, without the shedding of blood it is impossible to please God. It was the priest’s duty to plead to God for the forgiveness of a man’s sins, by killing a lamb on the altar. But such kind of forgiveness was temporary and continuous shedding of blood was required. Christ became the Priest and Lamb for our sins, so that once and for all a sacrifice could be made so that we could have forgiveness of our sins. Worship requires us to understand the deity of Christ on the cross of Calvary. He being God Almighty, came down in the form of man, humbled himself even unto death on that cross. He became a Priest for us and an offering for us too. All this again reminds us of the work of Christ on the cross of Calvary.

Lastly we see him giving Christ a proper burial. He put him in his own new sepulcher. He gave him an honorable and worthy burial. It was not a very rich burial as we see no spices or ornaments, etc. being used. Neither was many people participating in the burial. So how was in worthy enough for the King of kings? The worship that outpoured from the heart of Joseph was one of the best burials that one could give Christ. Christ accepts something that is from a true heart and considers it great, like we see in the case of the widow who cast in two mites. Christ requires worship that comes from a heart that is sincere and true. We need to give him the honor and glory that’s worthy unto him.

Let’s look back into our lives and see in how many areas we fail and how can our worship be acceptable in the sight of God as a sweet smelling savor.

September 26, 2007

"You and I were made to love..."

"It is the feeling of insecurity...", one of my friends who had gone out of India to Dubai for a trip replied after seeing the way the assemblies today lack true fellowship and closeness. He went on to say,

"the know, they anytime could be thrown into jail, their visas could be canceled, anytime they could be ripped through by a one knows. They stand for a belief that is so contrary to the Islamic ideas persistent out there in Dubai. It is this feeling of insecurity that drives them with a heartfelt longing of being together. Knowing each other and understanding each other's need and problems has become a part of their day to day lives. Crying over petty issues had become a thing of the past. Not knowing what would happen of them the next moment, they carry on their lives together, rejoicing in one's happiness and mourning in one's grief. Not worried about their family background or their caste or how rich and poor they are, they cherish the closeness and joy that arises through sweet fellowship...."

In a city like Mumbai, one hardly finds time to cherish and enjoy the freedom we have as a secular nation. Not a nation governed by a particular religion, but still have the freedom in practicing and propagating your belief. It is this freedom that we so often take it for granted and misuse it. That feeling of insecurity is not the driving force in us. In countries like the US, UK...where the whole country is governed by a 'Christian' government, living as a Christian is not an issue. That's why we find so many people today turning to atheism. No closeness in the family results in divorce, desperateness, depression, resort to drugs,sex just to find a feeling of being loved.

While countries like the US faces such problems, not claiming that such problems do not exist here in India, where do we stand? The need to know my brother in Christ has been lost. The need to comfort the one who is sorrowing, the need to lend a helping hand to the one who cannot walk alone, to be a friend in deed has seldom troubled us. The love of Christ has so fainted in us that we many a times even fail to have fellowship with God.

We got time for our studies, we got time for our work, for our idiot box, for our spider's web, for our meal, for our games, for our friends, for our mobiles, for our laziness, for our ambitions, for our gadgets knowing that all these are vanity and will perish as the flower that fades away. Yet we in our business forget our Creator and frame ourselves to be gods of our own lives.

"You and I were made to worship, you and I were made to love..." songwriter Chris Tomlin poetically emphasizes. That was the basic duty to which every creation of God was called to. God desires that every creation would come to him with a heart of worship. The fellowship we lost in the garden of Eden has been regained on the cross of Calvary but with a very costly price. How much more should we cherish this fellowship!! Only when we devote time to sit at his feet will we learn the beauty of our Lord in his holiness and Majesty. Then will worship outpour from a true heart that has seen God face to face.

Tonight there might have been a brother or a sister in need of your help and comfort or who would have just needed you to be with him or her to be a moral support. Where were you? Were you lost in your selfishness? Or were you at his heart's doorstep catering to his needs? That's where we all need to question ourselves. true fellowship arises only when we realize the need for it, only when the love of Christ reigns in us. Lets evaluate ourselves and examine our hearts as to where exactly do we stand.

September 19, 2007

Completely stressed out

We had this Environmental Project to submit. Our professor informed us well in advance a week before the date for submission. Now that wasn't good news. I was in a group of three. The other two in my group were girls from my college. That wasn't a much big issue. But as you know, you always tend to follow what they say. So we agreed to meet in college for completion of the project...that was a day before the submission. But plans got changed when they requested me to come to their house instead to college. That was fine to me and fixed a time with them.

While leaving home, my mother just casually asked me as to where I was going. I informed her on the same just to hear a tantrum of hundreds of questions that I got as a 'soft' reply. Coming from a Christian family that's a bit conserved on its ideas regarding this world, it wasn't unusual and I expected such kind of thoughts because I was going to a girls house. But it was wise to not keep it a secret and land up into much more trouble. Reaching their house was a big adventure. They lived in Dadar(W) and I landed up in Dadar(E) searching for their house. Then after asking directions to almost everyone I crashed into, I finally managed to reach there an half an hour later. Worked on the project and returned home only by 6pm.
Started with a short prayer asking for God's help and started writing the project...Went on till dinner and realized that I had a lot still remaining.

Sat up in the night, with a heavy head, till about 1am. Sill had a lot more to write. Next morning I had to go for class early in the morning. So slept with a very confused mind as to go or not for the class. If I hadn't completed the project by the next day which was the deadline for its submission, I would lose a whole precious 20 marks. So I slept deciding not to go for the class. Next morning got up early and started writing the project, not knowing the vastness in it, I prayed a short prayer skipping my morning quite time. Scrambling here and there for printouts and pictures, I managed to finish the project only by 11am. Rushed to the college knowing that I was already late and was going to be jacked for that. On my way I remembered that I had forgotten some important papers that I had to carry along. My heart almost skipped some beats. Luckily that day, I could submit the project and get my other work done too, thanks to my friends who helped me out.

Happily I returned home, leaving behind a very big burden. Remembered those short prayers that I prayed along all throughout and thanked God for his help. I really credited God for helping me because I felt it would have been virtually impossible for me to complete the project in time. After around 9 hours of writing, it felt so light and peaceful without having that burden to carry around.

That night I got the biggest shock of my life. While laying down to sleep I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten in all that mess and hurry, to write my name on the project!!! My heart apparently stopped. Couldn't think about anyway out. Submission's done. Those 9 hours of writing, the stress in it, no sleep, missed class....would all that go in vain?? I just couldn't sleep that night. Did God do this purposely?? Would he forsake me in the end? Would he not pay heed to all those prayers I prayed to him? I was shaken thinking these things. Once again I prayed to God and asked him for his help. But that night I couldn't sleep peacefully.

The next day, I just couldn't concentrate in my class. After class immediately went to college and tried to do something. Our professor was the kind of guy who would fire you black and blue till you are really ashamed of yourself. However, I couldn't meet him and asked a peon for help. He found the problem a no big issue and readily understood my problem and helped me out. Thanks to his efforts, I could heave a sigh of relief that day.

Through all this I realized that God will never forsake his children. Some way or the other, he is always there to help them out. But all that we need to do is to ask of him his help. So many a times we leave the house even without a simple prayer of 'God help me'. We tend to forget that every step that we take is by his grace and strength, not by our merits but by his favor. Lets not forget to always ask God for his help though the task be small or great.

September 13, 2007

Livin' in hope

Recently my grandfather passed away into his eternal home of rest leaving behind his footsteps that can never be erased and which continues to inspire and challenge all those who wish to follow that path which he trod. A man firm in his word and spontaneous in action, this man was one hardworking person who never allowed another to wipe away the sweat from his forehead.

At a ripe old age of 83, battling through cancer, he walked each step towards his earthly destiny with courage and complete dependence on the one who held his hand right from the time he stepped out of his mother'
s womb. 55 years of service to his Maker, he served in awe and sincerity greatly following the footsteps of the one who made him. As he breathed his last breath among his loved ones who watched in grief as he said goodbye, he left behind a smile on his faint lips and a tear of joy that rolled down his cheeks comforting hearts.

After his first treatment, the doctors gave him three more months to survive. But God's will in his life was that he should be with his loved ones for another three years just to teach them some qualities....qual
ities such as patience in serving and suffering, joy in sorrow, hope in despair, strength in weakness, love in fellowship....I still remember the words uttered by his son on the deathbed of his father, "Even after he came to know that he was diagnosed with cancer he softly said,
"If it pleased God for me to carry this burden in my old age, I will carry it" ."
It is easy to say such things but he was a man of action.

He had this hope that after his death he would be with Christ. This hope gave him courage and strength to walk his pilgrim journey. He looked forward to those mansions ready for him in heaven and not worried about the earthly complexities. All throughout his life he fought a good fight and finished his course, leaving behind an example for people to follow.
The hope that burned in his heart burns in the heart of each one of us who knows Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, too. This hope assures us daily that if we die today we will be with our Lord. A hope that separates each and every believer from the fantasies of this world that corrupts the very deity of Godhead. A dying world in which people perish and fade away in their own fancy imaginations of what life after death would be, this hope is the only sustenance of our salvation.
Christ came into this world and took the punishment of our sins on himself that through his death the curse of sin could be removed from us. But this hope is living in us today because we do not worship a dead God but a living God who rose up from the grave on the third day. If Christ wouldn't have risen from the dead our faith would've been in vain and would've been like any other. Anyone who confesses with his mouth that Christ is Lord and believes in his heart that he has died for his sins, he too enjoys this hope.

So what is this hope?? As I began with, my grandfather went away with this hope that he would be in heaven after his death. And we too can cry with hope cause we know that our goodbye is not in vain. Do you have this Hope??

August 28, 2007

Remebering those ol' skool days

How quickly time has passed by. When you were in school you would always want to get out and graduate soon. But now sitting back in college I think, “…Hmm…wish I was in school…”


From the eighth standard I really began enjoying school. Memories rush in as I think about these days. The in thing at that time was Pokémon cards. They would sell like hotcakes. K.C., Ross and I had a group of our own in collecting these cards. The funda behind these cards was to trade it with your friends who were really stupid and get the most out of your trade. Everyday we made it sure to get at least a couple of new cards. Ross was the rich guy…on whose pockets K.C. depended (chillin…). Keaton (K.C.) was just the trader with sweet enticing but not so convincing words. The worst part  was after making a good collection some crazy guy would find the right opportunity in school and flick it away from us. Mainly it happened when the cards were with me. But never give up and you will succeed…From the kids in the lower classes to the 10th standard-ers everyone had a craze for these cards. Then came the rules from the school to which no one gave any heed but took the greatest of the precautions in hiding them. For e.g. my friend once came to know that his class was going to be checked for these cards. Immediately he put his cards into his tiffin box and luckily that day he got saved from the teacher. Phew...the cards were partly mine too.But all that ended in a misery when after continuous flicking of our cards our final collection got lost after Ross realized that his bag was torn on his way back from tuition. Who can forget the 4 musketeers who were always out of the class with a 'science project' bahana. K.C., Ross, Marlon and myself were working on a project for a forthcoming science exhibition. Before making the final one we had to submit to our class teacher a summary and a small model of our project. On submission the comments we received from them were...'kaccha..kaccha'...'very poorly built'. As compared to the other students who had brought in a working model ours was some kind of a tattered toy. Still impressed by our idea, they selected ours for the final day. From that day for a month, we used to bunk at least 4 lectures (chosen carefully) in order that we complete our project.Though it was just 10% work and 89% time was the most fun time we had out there. Also the sports day and other events clubbed together helped us bunk more...hee..hee...As time passed we had to hurry up with the project as the date for submission approached. Though the event insisted on working models, we just stuck some motors here and there....voila...the project's done....imagine if we actually had put on some cool working model, we would have been called 'Newton' or what? Even during the exhibition, Pokémon would never leave us. Till one day, Ross got fired black and blue by a female volunteer from that school for getting these cards. That was the eighth standard.

Ninth standard was a call to captaincy. Appointed along with some of our friends including Marlon, Joel as vice-captain of our respective houses. Our role??...well to mind other people's know the secret pleasure in doing so... Principal had asked us to detain all those who came late for school and bring them to his office. we were so cruel...even a minute late and we would shut the door. During rainy season, anyone coming with colored floaters other than the regular black color were caught. That was our job and we were excellent in it. Our captains were the laziest, at least mine. He would ask me to do almost everything and happily watch along doing nothing. During the sports day, we were supposed to take care of our houses and select proper players out of the whole class who would run out on hearing that there were selections going to be held that day.A lot of bunking, followed by sitting on the grounds doing nothing or sometimes 'illegally' play football with our friends on the ground.Talking about football, that was the first time (as I suppose) we had an inter house football tournament. Though our house landed up coming third (second last!!!), my friend and I got a reward for the best goalkeeper and player respectively. Shocking isn't it? But our honor was a small finger sized trophy which had to be returned in a week's disgusting. Well that was the time I was encouraged to play football and joined the school's football team....Nicknames were a hit during that time and all thanks to Joel. As the rumour goes (its true??!!!), during religion class, Joel was asked to pray. He landed up praying "Give us our daily pears and apples" instead of "Give us our daily bread". So What? That wasn't funny...But from that day onwards we started calling him apple and pear to the extent that the whole class became popular with the nickname and ragged the poor fellow. Best part was that his aunt was our class teacher and out of curiosity joined in sometimes. Taking revenge, he nicknamed me "Krabby" dedicated to 'SpongeBob Squarepants' and Rhys as "Bhakra" of whom we drew crazy pictures. Also Marlon as "Hairy legs" as the reason is so obvious. Eighth standard also witnessed the rise of a cool athlete, Marlon. Eighth and Ninth were also an artistic era. Sketches of Dragon Ball Z was a must on the last page of every book.

Tenth standard was never a that big tension for me in the sense of studies. Had to join classes for the first time. In school our class landed up getting the strictest of all the teacher as our class teacher. She was almost as short as Mustafa(the shortest guy in our class). Yet she didn't allow her stature to take advantage of her but she bullied the whole class. Pramila teacher's (our English teacher) favourite pick was Joel....thanks to his brilliant long English essays(and the aunt influence??) that year, unfortunately they didn't appoint me as the captain of my house realizing that I was bunking a lot?....hahaha...Football was a secondary goal too. Months of intense practice during the summer vacations, practices at school as early as 6:30am....though it lasted only for one hour during the school was fun and kind of a good experience. But during the league I could hardly get a good chance to play...thanks to my brilliant know spectacles aren't allowed. During school days we would report to class only after he first lecture because our book was never complete. The best player in our group was Anukool. He rocked in football and was also a champ in hockey and athletics. Well he was the perfect sports guy in our school and a brainy fellow too. He got 89% in his boards. "Quest que cest?..." "Bonjour"....that's the memories that quickly pass by as I think about the French lecs. Probably she was the sweetest and most nicest prof around. THe coolest prof around was Yadav Sir....the teacher from 'U.P.' I think that he's done a master's in Bihari English and a bachelor's in Mumbai Hindi. "Calendar give you...", "last second boy...", "get you up...".....never before you would have heard such professional English. Well he teaches us Hindi not surprisingly. One incident that happened in our class....a boy one day brought a roll of string and passed it all around the class making a webtrap. Poor Yadav...he walked straight into it and got himself entangled. Yeah not forgetting, he will never leave the class without those "accidental" chalk stokes on his 60's black pants. Another day someone placed an onion on his chair and not forgetting the chewing gum. The picnics too were cool. Got permission from my parents to go for the picnic at Water Kingdom after a gap of two years. Luckily that year I didn't loose my spectacles. Preliminaries came and went still not much improvement on the report card. Going for the board exams for the first day, I reached late. Among our friends, there was this guy who wore the same T-shirt all the 15 days of the exams. Was it a lucky T-shirt or what? Our school was the most happy when the results came. After I don't know how many years, our school got 100% pass percentage. Teachers were so extra day off from work. The farewell party was somewhat an organized flop show...!! After the party we as a group went to bandstand for some quality time of timepass. Lot, lot more to write but I don't think you would continue reading further.....that was the tenth experience always to remember

August 10, 2007

Thought from the scripture: Call to complete dependance

Mark 6: 7 - 9

'And he called unto him the twelve and began to sent them forth by two and two: and gave them power over unclean spirits; and commanded them that they should take nothing for the journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.'

The Lord was giving instructions to the disciples before they take the journey to the ends of the world to preach the gospel. The disciples of Christ were between the age group 16 - 30 years. People in the prime of their lives, full of energy and aspirations....called out by Christ to be witnesses for him....wouldn't that be real challenging...leaving our comfort zone to follow someone who claimed to be God.....can you picture yourself in their shoes?....It would have been the biggest turning point in their lives....and the most difficult one too. The verse does not literally mean 'no scrip,...' it actually should be interpreted as 'take no thought of your scrip.'

'Carry with you no scrip.' What's a scrip? As per the dictionary definition a scrip is a legal certificate of your land or property. The disciples had left behind everything to follow Christ. They were going out on a mission.....who knows when they would return....maybe they'd lose their property and shelter as a price to pay for the call. Whatever, the call that Christ asked them to follow was a costly one indeed. They were poor people as we read that they were just fishermen and some loafers. Christ through this instruction asked them to be pilgrims on this earth. Christ had promised them that he's going to prepare for them mansions in heaven. Indirectly Christ called them to complete dependence on him, to be as pilgrims looking for a heavenly city whose builder and maker was God where neither moth or rust would corrupt.

'Take no thought of bread.' The disciples were normal people like us. Imagine living without food for a day! Your stomach would immediately start grumbling. So did it mean that they were supposed to go around begging for food? Even if they carried food, it would get over in a couple of days. Then what? Christ called to dependence on him even on daily things. It required much faith and to have such great faith needed a lot of grace from God. Christ said when he was being tempted be Satan, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the Word of God."What is the bread that we depend on in our day-to-day lives? Maybe our studies, our profession, our job,....In our Christian pilgrim journey such things can take more priority in our day to lives. That is why Christ told do not take thought for such things, he will provide and will provide us the best.

'Take no thought of the money in your purse'.....did that mean that they were supposed to be broke and beggars? They had left their profession for following would they survive?? money??Here too they were called to dependence on Christ. An illustration could best explain this. A father would never despise his child when he asks' him something needed. On the other hand the child need not bother as to how his father would provide it to him. he just had to believe in him. Would they have sufficient money to carry on the day?....all these would distract them from them from the mission that they had been called to. When riches increase in our daily lives, sorrow will also increase. For a disciple on a mission it would be more justified for him to concentrate on the mission than on the things that make up the mission. a verse to sum it up, "the sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much, but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep."

'Carry no two raiments.' So it would mean that they go around in their 10 days old stinky attire? Here the second raiment means a mask of hypocrisy. It is better to carry one label of yourself than carrying two that just increases the weight. Disciples of to be witnesses for Christ....but they also had a human nature that could show itself out many a times. That's what Jesus told them not to carry along but put on only one raiment that pleases God. Hypocrisy is the biggest weakness in a Christian's life. As time passes by one could start getting weary and tend to fall. Keep it aside and walk a true Christian life was the instruction Christ gave them.

Christ didn't end his instructions there. He encouraged them by telling them two things, 'carry a staff, be shod with sandals'.

The staff is used by a shepherd for guiding his sheep. The staff here represents the word of God. It is the word of God that guides, corrects, encourages...During the mission one could get weary...getting back to his word is the best solution at that time. when things go wrong getting back on your knees and seeking God's help is the best way out. They were going to preach the gospel of peace. If they weren't prepared for the problems and tests, they would be utter failure in their life.That is why Christ tells them that they should be shod with sandals which is the prepartion of the gospel of peace.

We find many practical applications of these in our day to day lives. Lets look back into our life and find where we stand in our pilgrim journey.

August 03, 2007

The Ten Plagues of Egypt : A Scientific Approach.

Have you ever thought as to how exactly did the plagues of Egypt originate? The incident occurred around 4000 - 5000 years ago. Archeology can barely find evidence of the Great Exodus of the Children of Israel. Scientists have now found out means of explaining the 10 plagues of Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea.

The ten plagues of Egypt followed kind of in a continuous sequence each as a consequence of the earlier. Pharaoh had commanded all the male children born to the Jews to be destroyed and cast into the river Nile. This could have resulted into extreme contamination of the river resulting into the death of many fishes too. This could be the reason for the river turning into blood all of a sudden. This incident could have forced the frogs from the river to come out of the river and hence lead to thousands of frogs pestering the Egyptians. The next two plagues could have been to the mysterious death of all the frogs. The plague of the lice and the plague of the swarm of flies would have been responsible for the next two plagues i.e. the sudden death of all the livestock of the Egyptians and the plagues of the grievous boils on the Egyptians. Since insects are an excellent carrier of diseases, it could have resulted in the quick spreading of the disease.These were just one phase of the ten plagues. Six done...four more to go. The Lord then sent heavy hailstones followed by a plague of locust that devoured everything organic on the land and then followed by complete darkness for which some experts do comment that it could have been due to a great sandstorm. Well the tenth plague is one the most baffling one. Only the firstborn of the Egyptians died all at once and not even one Israelite was harmed. One of the possible explanations to this is, the 9 plagues that devoured Egypt earlier could have taken a great toll on the Egyptians. The severe hail and darkness can have serious effect on the mental structure of one's body. Egyptian customs insisted that before a famine or a natural calamity the firstborn should be fed twice his normal diet. The Egyptians didn't have any cleanliness rituals as compared to the Jews. All these could have resulted into the death of the firstborns of the Egyptians.

Then came the crossing of the Red Sea. There are four theories to it.

First: It could have just happened the way it is written in the Bible..i.e. a strong east wind came and separated the Red sea. scientifically proved that such kind of a thing can happen. But the kind of weird thing in this theory is the strong wind...never was such a strong wind seen before.

Second: A possible tsunami could have receded the water making a pathway for the Israelites to pass through. but the weird part of this theory is the exact timing of the tsunamis. They hit the shores as soon as the Israelites crossed the waters....!!!

Third: A possible volcano could have created a temporary pathway for the Israelites to pass through.

Fourth: The English Bibles misinterpret the Sea as the Red Sea....but it is actually the Reed sea...such a sea could be a lake or a shallow river bed making it possible for the Israelites to pass through.

Other questions that arise are, 'why did Pharaoh harden his heart?' , 'How many people actually left Egypt?' , 'Did Pharaoh really release the Israelites or did they flee?'

Egypt was one of the most advanced countries during that times. Pharaoh could have had a number of scholars advising him from time to time about the plagues of Egypt and giving him a scientific explanation to those events. Taht is why he could have hardened his heart.

The number of people that actually left Egypt in the original translations are written as 600 'elphs' (if I am right??). An 'elph' could mean 'a thousand' or 'a clan'. the word could have been misinterpreted as 'a thousand'. Archaeologists states that if there were truly 600 thousand people, there would have been remains left behind in their footsteps. but to date, no such evidence was obtained.

Egypt was constantly under pressure to a strong Mediterranean group that threatened Egypt and warred with Egypt during the times of the plagues. This greatly could have weakened Egypt due to which the Israelites could have possibly escaped.

The 10 plagues of Egypt are one of the most baffling incidents in science. Though science cannot give that convincing explanations to the events but they help us to look at the plagues of Egypt in a different way and well for me, it makes me once again think of God's greatness and omniscience.

July 27, 2007

Thought From the Scripture : Provoking God

We are living in a age where sin burns and consumes people in their lusts and devices. In such a situation God has placed people like us who are supposed to live like Christians. Its like sheep surrounded by lions..we won't get harmed unless we wander out of the fold to see how 'beautiful' the mountains are.

We are placed in this world as Christians to be a testimony to the people around. But I personally think, living a true Christian life is the most difficult thing to achieve in this world and it is guaranteed that one cannot live a life up to the expectations of God without his much-needed help. Scripture instructs 'flee away from sin'.....that's when you start wondering what exactly does it mean to flee away? When you are alone and faced with the greatest weakness in your life it is very rare that you can escape from the sin safe...In such a situation you think..."Just once'll be alright...anyway God is a gracious God, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy...well he will forgive me" ...knowing that this is not the first time you said such kind of a thing before falling into sin. That's when we start provoking God.

The people of Israel when they sinned willfully, the punishment upon them was not famine or drought but instant death. Even if they were caught breaking any of the laws, they were stoned to death.

The scripture says in Hebrews 10 : 26,27 "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, then there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries."

I sill imagine is God really that strict? Though he is a righteous and holy God yet his compassion is so great! If I would count the number of times I sinned! how on earth am I alive? The most severe punishment I would have got was a bad stomach pain or something like that.

the scripture further goes on to say in Hebrews 10 : 29 "....Of how mush sorer punishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under feet the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"

The moment I read this verse I was deeply moved remembering that the verse strictly meant for people like me. I thank God that he still loves me and will never fail to do so.

The other day, my friend and I spent a lot of time discussing on this subject and the areas in our life where we fail. I thank God that he provided me such kind of a person who I could freely interact with and talk about the problems that I face. One thing that he told me that really pricks me when I am on the verge of falling...."Imagine what would God feel when I sin....He would be crying up there in Heaven...."

We are so shameless that we forget to cry for our mistakes but make God cry!! The Lord himself says "Vengeance belongeth to me, I will recompense it." If God would have revealed his true nature to us, which is hid by the blood of Christ, I doubt if I would have been there to write this article today.

Let's take a stand to say "NO" to sin and change our ways. I know it is easy to preach but extremely difficult to practice(at least in my case) and when it comes to our secret sins. Rather than provoking God through our sins lets ask God for his grace daily with a true heart to help us to carry on each day.

Agrawal 'XIIth' tension

A much hyped classes known generally for generating toppers...that's the thought every Agrawalite steps in the classes with. "One day, my name will be engraved along with the toppers in Agrawals"...these are the kind of thoughts everyone gets when they step into the classes for the first time. Nut faint they know that the aspiring thoughts will last for only a few weeks or say a few lectures till they realize ..."Am I really in the right place or am I stupid?" You start dividing your batch based upon their IQ level...than as friends. You start realizing that you are not smart enough to be with the brains neither can put in hard work i.e. studying for 5 - 6 hours!!!

So you mix around with both the groups hoping you will get the qualities of both.

Them comes the judging of the professors. As people normally tend to develop a liking for those who are able to impress you the first time you meet them. Some turn out to be very good who can take you to another level of understanding along with fun and excitement. But there are others who really put you down or with whom you can't get along with; either they are too boring or you are too sleepy(remember we have to get up at 5:30am).

'9 : 50am'.....

"tring tring......' '........beep beep......'

"Come on leave us yaar...!!!....we have to eat!!!!"

.....the alarms start ringing.....restlessness mounts although there are still 10 minutes remaining of the break. During the break if you happened to go down to breathe in fresh will find that the whole footpath is crowded with the hungry, vicious, nerdy animals....oops!!!...Agrawalites. The other day a passer by asked me whether there was a program or a party going on or what??...Can't he see that we are the aspiring loyal nerdy - yet hardworking hungry students of Agrawal Classes??

Tests are a once in a month affair and they never bother you except on the report card that is sent home.that's when the restrictions start. Well the tests are kind-a tuff with no optional questions. The worst part is that you have to give a test for around 7 to 8 chapters together and not just on subject but two!!!

You will rarely find people getting marks between 65% to 80%. It will either be more or less.well I fall in the latter!

That's Agrawal classes in short. An experience you will never forget and will always be profitable.

July 14, 2007

Praying in Hindi!!!

How would it feel when someone comes and tells you to pray in Hindi....when you are person who barely can pronounce Hindi the way it is supposed to be pronounced (you know that the best!!!!) .....or if you the kind of guy who always talks in English and always finds the opportunity to escape from someone who knows only Hindi......

It was Friday evening Prayer meeting in the church. We had a new person who joined us recently for the prayer meeting. Well he knew only Hindi and could understand only Hindi. My friend and I were sitting together with him. We never ever before prayed in Hindi. What should we do? We were in a big fix. We couldn't allow him to go and sit with others because well they didn't know him well and also he was knew in the church. We couldn't just abandon him. Took out a moment and then we decided to pray in Hindi.

Imagine being asked to talk in French when you just know only the ABC's of French. That was the same way we were feeling. My friend decided to open by taking the challenge and praying in Hindi. He prayed well though he prayed only about half the time he would normally pray. By that time my another friend came and he could pray in Hindi. I heaved a sigh of relief thinking that he would take him aside and pray with him separately. But no!!!! that didn't happen. He took his turn and continued the prayer time. All during his prayer I was preparing for my prayer...The big-big Hindi phrases that I never used even in my Hindi essays in school. Well it was my turn after him. I shrugged with a sense of doubt in myself and started my prayer...with long gaps in the middle I somehow managed to pray for at least one-fourth the time I normally pray. Though the Hindi was was an experience never to be forgotten.

July 12, 2007

Revisiting seven/eleven

One year has past and yet those horrible sounds keep echoing in your minds. The bloody pictures of those people who fell a prey to those antisocial elements in our society, still are vibrant.Bodies after bodies just scattered apart on those tracks where 181 people met their earthly destiny.Chaos all around as the rest 1000 people watched knowing that they could have been one of them. Scars left behind in their mind never to be erased or healed till they meet the same destiny.

Just seconds after the plot succeeded hundreds of people were out there on those tracks placing those bricks back on the wall. through the smallest of the gaps they pulled out people who failed to open their eyes ever again.Soon help poured out from all the areas as though those people were your own blood. Unity undefined and yet so great kept alive the hopes of those who survived the blast.

Before the police and the ambulance, it was the media who got out there to that horrible site.'First Pictures' of those bloody scenes flashed across the screens of millions of people of which some watched their hopes die as time passed by. Investigations began as the blame-game slowly arose out there in the political chambers. Hospitals got crowded as thousands of people gathered to relive their lost hopes. Hundreds joined hands as they rushed to the hospitals to donate life to the dying. Hundreds of doctors worked overtime as patients kept pouring in. And it was evening and the day closed with a shimmering light yet burning in the hearts of the relatives of those 181 people.

A force greater than the force that ripped apart that train from its very strength brought together the city of Mumbai barred neither by religion nor creed nor caste nor sex. That night behind the scenes hundreds of people worked together to see that the city is back running on those very tracks very it once fell. Lets take out a minute to just salute all those who left their comforts and leisure to help those ailing and helpless victims of the seven/eleven blasts.

Though the city runs today, and the world keeps spinning again, hundreds of people are still out there who will never be able to live a normal life ever again. As you revisit every moment of that gruesome day, I'm sure that a chill will run down your spine.

"Why don't things happen the way you think that they should go?"

Why don't things happen the way you think that they should go? The other day I really had to take out time and answer this question. What is the purpose of all the things, the time I spend on perfecting it? All the hard work put into it just goes in waste...the mind and the creativity behind a project is all shattered when someone rejects your idea.

I think that God too had to take out time and answer this very same question at least once and most appropriately when his creation disobeyed him. That was the time God had to ask himself "What is the purpose of me creating mankind if they do not worship nor honour me. Man! these people are rebellious and if left on their own will surely never obey me. Didn't I have a wonderful plan for them? But they've have made their own plans. Ain't I the one who is all knowing, but they now think that they have become like me. Didn't I provide them with everything they wanted? Weren't they all sufficient? yet they coveted for that forbidden fruit! Did I make a mistake in making them??" I'm sure that God would have really questioned himself (though it is completely in man's perspective and contrary to God's character).

Why do people die or leave you when you think you are very close to them? Plans in life to get into this college, graduate in this field from a well known college, get into this job in this company, get married to this person and yeah all the other things that hurriedly follow.Well all these things do come into your mind but the moment you don't surrender your plans to the hand of God, its hard to say but you make God ask himself that very same question again!!

That’s where I fail and do fail many a times still. The day I go out on my own abilities that day I'm sure to fall.

The reason for this is as simple that you are interfering with what God has in store for you

It applies even for the things you do for God.The time and effort you spend behind it would all go in waste if it is not in the will of God.

I had to learn this the hard way and still do learn when I try to be the 'omnipotent one'. We had the monthly youth meeting started for the first time. My friend and I prepared a couple of new songs and practised well for it. Well since the program for the youth meeting was assigned to me, I took the whole responsibility of the meeting on myself and took pride in it too somewhere deep inside. But when the youth meeting started, it was like no one was even interested in singing those songs (though everyone looked forward to the games and the food more). Further incidents during the meet really tested my ego and my emotions. For the next few days, I was continually troubled with the thoughts. "Where did it all go wrong? Why wouldn't they cooperate? Why wouldn't they understand the hard work and efforts put behind preparing it? Why? Why??" But I never thought "Ha, I was the wrong man out there. I'm the one who is at fault. I was the one who insisted that the meeting should go the way I wanted it to go. I was the one who was becoming too selfish and not allowing God to work!" But praise God. After a couple of days God brought to light my faults and corrected me to the right way. had I allowed God to work & not my ego....well that day would have been a much more profitable than it was.

These times do come in our lives when we do not allow God to work through us and that’s when the problems start and all those self-questions. At these times we emotionally confront with our inner-self as a reflection on a mirror and begin to question ourselves..."Why don't things happen the way you think that they should go?"