Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yesterday- 11/02/2012

Confidence need not result in honour; I realized this yesterday, when I publicly answered "Ibex" to a question as to which was the national animal of Qatar. The answer was "Oryx". I was truly confident when I answered, but not all things that we say or do confidently results in honour or success. Sometimes we as believer's are confident, even overconfident of matters regarding the Word or other things. We may argue to establish our point, but after a while, sometimes a few years later, we may realize that what we said or did long back was not exactly the right thing.

Saul of Tarsus was confident, in fact overconfident, that what he was doing was right. In his own words....
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. (Philippians 3:4-6)

But later, he confessed regarding his former life.....
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:12-16)

A testimony worth reading.

Let our confidence be in the mercies of God, rather than in our own strength as we learn from Saul's changed life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yesterday- 10/02/2012

I prefer to remain quiet during cab rides, because the moment, the driver knows that I am a Doctor, there will spill out a series of health related questions and a free consult. Not that I don't want to be helpful, but sometimes it is tiring and I prefer a peaceful ride. The cab driver that I got yesterday was into conversation with me the moment I stepped into his vehicle. There were quite a few random questions followed by, "do you work in a bank?" No, said I, "I am a doctor" now knowing, the series of questions that would follow. "A child specialist?" "No, I said, "I am a Physician". The rest of the ride was spent with him querying me about his diabetes, what all complications would ensue, his medications, a story how his friend who had diabetes died young and whether he would go the same way. Finally, when he dropped me off, he had 2 requests:one for my visiting card and the other, to give him preference when he visited me for his diabetes. Looking at it from his point of view, he had gained much. His wages, a free consult and a few other free things.

"Free" is one word that attracts people so much. And product manufacturers of all kinds take huge advantage of the word. The internet is plagued with free offers from i-pads to i-pods to i-phones to free trips and what not. Spams and scams are the thing that every internet user has to deal with. Some fall for the traps, some learn from painful experiences and turn wise and some keep suffering looking for that "genuine" free though it rarely comes.

We all learn from our experiences in life and the Bible advices us to be wise. There is a great deal of wisdom to be gained from the books of wisdom in the Old Testament, namely, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Solomon (Song of Songs).

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7)is what the Bible advices us.....

Yesterday- 09/02/2012

Family reunions are wonderful occasions; at least, most of them are. Yesterday, at the airport, I witnessed such an uninhibited expression of love by a little child, perhaps 3-4 years of age. Must have been her Dad, who was arriving, for she was with a lady, perhaps her Mom. Her eyes were darting anxiously for the doors to open and see him come out of the arrival section. Every time someone else came out, she seemed disappointed and looked at her Mom, questioning the delay. And then finally, he stepped out with a trolley on which were a couple of suitcases. No sooner had she seen him, she freed herself from her Mom and ran towards him and jumped high into his arms, embraced him and showered a few kisses on his face. He too hugged her lovingly and then carried her with his arm around her. The child seemed oblivious to everyone and everything around and kept gazing at her father, now talking, now listening. How long must have him been away? Perhaps, quite a while, perhaps not much. But the longing in the child was passionate.

Do we have the same passion as we wait for the return of our Saviour? was something that crossed my mind later that day. How long will be the wait? No one knows, but we have the Saviour's promise.
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)

"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."(Luke 21:34-36)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Yesterday- 08/02/2012

Yesterday was another brutally cold day in most of Europe. Temperatures dipped far below zero in many countries. According to news reports, the hardest hit country is Ukraine, where temperatures as low as minus 32 degrees Celsius have left more than a 100 people dead. Most of the dead were ones without houses or anything that could be called a shelter. Trying times......

That would be a good reminder to all of us who have houses or flats or a room for that matter, whether owned or rented, that we must be grateful to God for this provision of his. God's provisions whether small or great are signs of his goodness and we must thank him and praise him for that.

He, in fact, is our real shelter. The Psalmist says,
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)

God is our shelter, come winter or summer. Let's trust in his goodness and abide in his shadow. His promise to "never leave us nor forsake us" still holds true.

Yesterday- 07/02/2012

Yesterday, another 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Negros - Cebu Region in the Philippines. Many died and many were missing, possibly buried under the debris. Another catastrophe, reminding us that things are not well with our planet. Whereever we live in the world, we are only as safe as the Lord keeps us. Walking on the road, driving a bike, travelling in trains or planes, at the workplace or resting at home, we need to depend on his love, compassion and mercy. Acknowledging that he is a prayer hearing and prayer answering God, we need to seek his face continually. At the same time, it is important that we keep ourselves undefiled from the pollution that is there around us, namely, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

The Apostle John exhorts us in this manner....
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2, 3)

The end of this age is near as world events tell us. Shall we then take the above exhortation to heart and purify ourselves?

For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:16, 17)

Yesterday- 06/02/2012

Yesterday, I pondered how it would be when I would see Jesus for the first time. It was in 1984 that I accepted him as Saviour and Lord and in the last 27 years have prayed to him with faith without ever seeing him. And so would the story go for many of you reading this. 1 yr, 3yrs.,5yrs., 10 yrs., 15 yrs.,....and so on and so forth. It's not a small thing that you and I have achieved. With faith, believing that he lives, we are marching towards that golden day, when we will finally see our Saviour face to face.

Come to think, one of the disciples had a hard time believing. Thomas......
Let me quote him, as John mentions in his gospel....
"....Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." (John 20:25)

And Jesus heard what he said, though he was not physically present at the time. So the remedy and the rebuke......A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:26, 27)

And Jesus had some loving comments for them who believe without seeing.....even us.....
"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Yesterday- 05/02/2012

Yesterday, travelling in a van, several friends of mine discussed how a certain e-mail service they had been using for years had gone haywire with inboxes not opening and some even unable to log in. The problem seemed to be widespread as many complaints were registered on the internet regarding the same. The conclusion among my friends was that the cause was systematic hacking and so some decided to use other e-mail services. The question arises as to how safe is our private information on the internet? Not the right answer. Hackers find ways to even get into government sites of several countries, so a personal website or an e-mail inbox is no big deal.

An evangelist who runs a Christian fortnightly in India sadly told me the other day that his website of the newspaper was hacked and destroyed several times because "Hallelujah" was the title. One Christian forum was similarly hacked a few months ago and now it no longer functions, except that people can read what was posted earlier.

Passwords can be made cryptic, they can be changed regularly, but still they may be deciphered and one may sustain loss. One weapon which can really stop the enemy in his tracks is prayer. It's an oft forgotten and centuries old weapon, but as powerful as it has ever been. Sadly, it's one that is oft ignored to the Christian's loss....To tell the truth.....the enemy has hacked many a Christian's prayer life.

Yesterday- 04/02/2012

Yesterday, I started teaching my younger daughter the book of 1 Samuel. Spending time with her, especially with the Word involved was a blessing. She could have managed it herself, being 14 years old, but I felt the need. In fact, we all need to listen to others speaking the Word, because we learn many new things. There are things that the Holy Spirit impresses upon each of our minds when we read the Bible and when we share them, the blessings are multiplied. Even if we have good knowledge of the Word and are great preachers or Bible teachers, when we hear others expound the Word, new dimensions, that we did not know often surfaces.

In the Old Testament, God had impressed upon the Israelites that they must teach their children his words or words of the law....

....may teach them to their children. (Deuteronomy 4:10)

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Teach them to your children....... (Deuteronomy 11:19)

Though the laws are not binding upon us, we have much to learn from them. God wanted the Israelites to teach their children these laws. What for? one may ask. He had only one purpose in bless them and their children. Many times these exhortations ended that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time. (Deuteronomy 4:40)

May God Almighty help us all (who have children) to learn from these exhortations and do likewise.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Yesterday- 03/02/2012

Yesterday, I read online about an interesting ritual among young girls in the Newar community of the Kathmandu valley of Nepal. They are married thrice; firstly at age 9-10 to a god that they worship, secondly, a couple of years later, to the sun and thirdly to a man at around 25 years of age. Marriage to a god is symbolized by marrying the young girl to the fruit of the wood-apple tree, a representation of their god. Marriage to the sun takes place by the girl spending 12 nights in a dark room, a ritual that earns her protection according to local beliefs. Most of us may find this strange, even funny; but for them who have grown up believing and practising these things, it's a part of life.

As a believer in the salvation that is made available by God through Jesus Christ, I feel sad for such, who have not yet known Christ and are living a life full of superstitions. But it challenges me to do more for the Lord and take the gospel to the unreached. How about you? Are you resting content that you are saved? Or do hearing such things spur you on to take the good news to the spiritually impoverished?

Read what the Apostle Paul writes to the believers in Rome....
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Romans 10:13-15)

We have our tasks cut out. Only time will tell how faithful we have been to the Lord's calling in our lives.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Yesterday- 02/02/2012

Yesterday, one of the medical representatives who visited me, handed me a diary for the new year. He apologized profusely for giving it after a month of the new year was over. It was February 1st and when he mentioned it, I suddenly realized that a whole month of 2012 had just whizzed by. Someone said, "Time flies" and it really does. At least for some. But there are others for who time drags, because of troubled times. As Solomon once said, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven....(Ecclesiastes 3:1)". Even "times" when time flies and "times" when time drags. But then these are the seasons of life, and everyone goes through it, except for those who leave this world young.

So what season are you in? Is time flying or has it come to a standstill?
If things have come to a standstill or are moving real slow, as a child of God, you still have hope, because you have trusted in the One who has time in his hands. As the Psalmist affirmed once.....My times are in your hands......(Psalm 31:15)

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:5)

Things will change as do the seasons. Hope and trust in your Saviour Jesus. He loves you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yesterday- 01/02/2012


Yesterday, the weather forecast for today was that it would bright and sunny. It was bright and sunny for a start, but then a dust storm hit and visibility decreased considerably. Well, it was not actually a storm in the strictest sense; more like gusty dust winds, but it created a lot of problems for drivers and for people walking on the roads. Some were caught unawares and had to take immediate care not to breathe in the dust swirling around or be smeared with loads of dust. Acting wisely without wasting time can often save one from unwanted misery.

But what if things are not in our hands at all or what if things get out of hand? We may strain at the oars like the disciples did one night when Jesus asked them to get into the boat and go on ahead of him.

We read in the gospel of Mark...
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down..... (Mark 6:45-51)

The disciples who were experienced fishermen, were straining at the oars because of troublesome winds. But the wonderful thing was that, there was one who saw their misery and saved them. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. Though we do not see him, he is there with each one of us who have put our trust in him. Our Saviour will hear our cries and calm all the storms threatening to destroy our lives. Let's keep trusting in him.