The Unintended Brake

One early morning, she revved up the engine of her car. Agitated, she tried to drive off. But her car doesn’t move. In her nervousness she could not figure out what’s wrong. She’s stuck there, near the wall.

Lost in the turmoil, she called for help. When I check, I saw the parking brake un-levered. I tucked in quietly, and drive out her car as she watched. It was her brand new car, so she was slightly nervy. Otherwise, there’s no problem.

She thanked me as if I have done a huge favor. I enquired as to why she pulled the parking brake. She told me she was a bit nervy, she pulled it by mistake. It is done unintentionally..

Now, the unintended brake calms her down. She’s settled; her nervy feeling left her. She told me it was a good thing that she pulled on the parking brake unintentionally. If not, she could’ve hit the wall.

She regained her confidence and that sort of things never happen again. The unintended parking brake saved her from further consequence before she reach the main street.

The brakes in vehicles are meant for smooth driving. It helps us avoid some tiny scratches as well as huge car crash.

the unintended brake
Car parking brake; for reference only

The Unintended Brake of Life:

As you look back the past year or your past living, you would realize some kind of unintended brake you put on yourself. The brighter side is that sometimes you don’t even remember pulling the brake. It might have saved you from unwanted shameful moments or simply slowed your life. I hope, one day, we will thank God for slowing down our life a little bit.

The unintended brakes are, many times, beyond the knowledge of man. Our God has pulled the brake for us, intentionally, to save from the road we’re on. It is difficult to understand why God had pulled the brake on us even when we’re confident of what we do.

When we’re afflicted it wasn’t never easy to withstand. When we are in the valley, of the shadow of death, it was spine-chilling. However, when one got settled; have the time look back on those moments, there’s some positive note to be taken, in the least.

I wasn’t happy either; so many restraint. My life’s sailing was not smooth. Unwanted brakes are put upon me, and that’s only how I perceived it. At least for this year, there many things I am unable to perform due to various yet certain reasons.

There is a way which seems right to a man; but its end is the way of death, the Bible says. (Proverbs 14:12) No one is above the purpose of God. We are only players of a larger purpose.

The heart knows it own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy (either). So, why should we be bitter about the brakes? In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Unintended Brakes as Stronghold:

On the flip side, we cannot simply lay back waiting for the brake to get un-levered by someone. A cocoon struggled so that it can fly. One should not get stuck in our faulty pattern of thinking based on deception.

The unintended brakes we put on ourselves could become a building block for another venture of our life. The brakes are intend to make us stronger as we exercise all the potentials we have.

That moment of braking in our life, which we do not enjoy, could be the most important phase in our life. For it to happen we should not lose hope. Even if we perish let’s perish with a hope Christ Jesus still withholding.

When it becomes our stronghold, we see God incorrectly – not as being fair or unjust. We cannot have healthy relationship with our God.

Stronghold makes us see ourselves incorrectly. We underestimate ourselves; we undervalue ourselves. Sometimes in my sufferings, I could barely make it out of this deception. If God has the needs for us to undergo these afflictions, He’ll set us free, victoriously one day.

When the time has come, the truth will set us free. We will regain confidence, un-lever the brake, and sail smoothly in those times to come.

Gratitude for the Brakes:

Let’s give thanks for the brakes, applied to our life, by the Heavenly Father. It is because of His mercy that we are not consumed. We say, the Lord is my portion?

It is noteworthy here that the unintended brakes are that one that saves our life, from accident and unwanted circumstances. Further, it is intentionally put on by our Savior for our own good. So that our God would be magnified in our lives.

Especially, looking back this year, can we give thanks sincerely from our hearts; for all the things God has done for us the good, and the not-so-good included? God is good all the time!

In the year to come may the grace of God be with you, Dear Reader!

A Year Closer: Numbering our Days

A year closer to maturity in spirit and body
A year closer to reaping fruit of investments
A year closer to illness free life
A year closer to realizing our dreams
A year closer to see our children grow up
A year closer to see the joy of aging
A year closer to retirement
A year closer to end of an era
A year closer to see the joy of salvation
A year closer to complete restoration
A year closer to spiritual transformation
A year closer to experiencing new things
A year closer to any kind of hope we had
A year closer to the Future

The list goes on……

Take time and add some on your list too. When you still have time you can look back or look forward to improve, if you are still up and able to read this. When the time ends you have no more time left in you. All our time would be our past someday.

A new sun on the horizon
A new year, new day, on the horizon

In some way, peeking back at times that was gone, would bring forth a new hope, appreciating the time of our life. There will be tons of people whose year doesn’t go well, somehow, lost in the throes of life. A year is just a number. And a block of some years changes our perspective of living.

For me, at my personal level, the number of my hospital visits were trimmed down a bit. I did not set a single foot on Imaging Centers this year! Although I had to endure the pain and uneasiness every single day, it was worth living.

There are many times when my physical strength was unable to follow the mind. There are times when my physique simply drops in the corner of the room. The soothing pain is almost unbearable. But there is an upside; the feeling of gratitude after the pain subsides, it feels good.

Yet there are very few happenings in daily life. I was unable to lead my family in the forefront. It was difficult sticking to a dream. Simply clinging to the hope, sometimes, was hard to get by. There are times when the days are dark.

The best part is that there’s an upside to everything.

Being alive simply doesn’t end there, with the pains and adversities. The comfort of the Lord surrounded me, when in need. Tears of joy accompany such times. When I’m in the valley of wilderness His rod and staff comforts me. I feel blessed because I was not consumed because of His mercy.

The journey was more of a rollercoaster ride. The ups and downs are befitting as well as benefitting, at least to me, although there’s no light shining out from me.

In due course of time and my illness, I realized that I have no nothing: no good health, no wealth, no job, no wisdom, and no good quality you can look for in a man. Still then, the Grace of God sustains me.

Every year-end brought in some kind of retrospection in my life. Had my father not passed away, we’d be having an important talk. There are times we’d share our everything at those father-son talks. But that’s no more a possibility; they are a thing of the past now.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” prayed Moses, the man of God. (Psalms 90:12)

In the preceding verses of His prayer, Moses talked of the frailty or fallibility of human life. There’s nothing much to value in this life, what we achieved is only by the grace of God. Life is like a new grass of the morning; but by evening it is dry and withered.

Each day is a gift, each year a bigger gift. Numbering our days rather than our wealth and achievement, in the midst of adversity, would bring wisdom to man. The kind of wisdom not found in the books of man but solely in Him, our God.

If God’s presence does not go with us there will be no point going on into a new year ahead. Yes, God’s presence will never leave us. His presence will go with us, and He will give us rest. (Ref. Exodus 33:12-17)

Let’s end herewith, the last four verses, from the prayer of Moses. As we move a year closer, let this be our prayer:

Psalms 90: 14-17

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.

May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

Amen!

The Rugged Road

Dawn of hope in the rugged road
Dawn of Hope

Busy in my own thoughts I am
The road’s lonely, my ride’s bumpy
The rugged road’s hard to tread
Jammed here in this road I chose
Silence befall, no voice I hear
Drive me out of my lonely den


My chains unshackled
In His blood I am free
Free to follow Him faithfully
Boundless love afloat my Road
Owing my loyalty to Him forevermore


Lead me in the road I’m feeble
Effete, worn, and my trembling feel
Yet You are good and faithful
Enable me to tread on heights
In fellowship we would stay
My Rock you are my refuge!

Here in the Valley it is dark
Pointy rocks hard to ignore
Light of hope shone my road dimly
Yet my eyes are not blinded
Your grace appeared saving me fall
Hope dawns on the rugged road!

Going Home: Brief Concept of Perfect Christmas

In the middle of December, two years ago, I had undergone brain surgery. Just ten days left before the year’s Christmas dawned. I was recovering, in the Intensive Care Unit, with few pains between the doses of painkiller.

Somehow, I want to go home before Christmas. And I know it could simply be a far cry of the inner self. My two young kids, who could not see me in my hospital room, were at home. My wife’s busy maintaining balance between home and hospital.

At least if it is possible, I don’t want to steal the spirit of celebration or celebrating moods of my devoted attendants. I was there, in the fumigated and calm hospital room, swooning to the beeping sounds of supporting machines.

During those period of uncertainty, I can recollect what my father told us before every Christmas; a prayer for those who could not be home for Christmas. Especially for those who are about to spend Christmas time in their hospital bed. I told myself, ‘I could be one of them!’

However, I know that nothing is in my control. I may or may not be home for Christmas; even if I am home I could simply offer my presence. After all, I know that all our family members would be praying for my quick recovery.Many times, I was made aware of their intercessory prayers.

Home for Christmas with decorations
Artwork: Home for Christmas

One evening, Doctor VP told me that I would be going home for Christmas; I thanked him. We even click few still moments, capturing those happy moments. We were discharge the next day. And we’re home for Christmas!

The almost Perfect Christmas:

Before moving forward to how we celebrate Christmas that year, I wanted to take you around on how we wanted to have a perfect Christmas. By tradition and culture, we are among those people who wanted to celebrate by having a grand feast among the believers. Everyone’s excited being part of the celebration, soon after the programs in our church are over.

Now, as time goes by we would like to give each other the perfect gifts. We chose the perfect greeting cards and write the perfect family letters if we’re not home. We would imagine the perfect celebration for Christmas and put all our effort to make it work. In other words, it was that time of the year where the pressure intensifies.

In many places, nowadays, the so-called celebration or party planners would be busy tending calls in this time of the year. Everyone wanted the best Christmas for a year. All the preparations would be way over the normal budget compared with any other occasion. It is good; it shows our appreciation of the new-born king.

For some people, it is time for buying new dresses for their children and love ones. Their wallet would be stretched a bit. They would want to show up shining and well-polished. These are what we called as being part of creating a celebrating atmosphere in most part of the world. Some have-nots section of the society would be getting their annual heist, which is long overdue.

Faulty Concept of Perfection:

We wanted to put good food on the table. More importantly, most people already work hard to secure the once-in-a-lifetime kind of meal on that day. However, unsurprisingly part of the meal got overcooked, probably, due to intensified behavioral error.

Children are busy fighting over toys. Their parents might get affected either directly or indirectly due to their tenacious or domineering attitude over others. Before they get the better side of it Christmas would be over. It would be disappointing for some.

Due to our faulty concept of perfection some would be left high and dry. Our perfection Jesus Christ had promised us is something different from this entire attitude. This year, if your Christmas celebration is less ideal and non-meaningful, take a backseat, relax, and focus more on the perfection we have in Him.

The Meaningful Christmas:

Let’s go back to our Christmas celebration, when we’re home just before Christmas, on that particular year.

There’s no time for preparation nor did have we time and strength to decorate our house. Yet there’s joy in being home for Christmas. It really was a joyous moment this Christmas as we’d be spending time together at home.

Spending precious time together at home, talking in deep the purpose of the birth of Christ, and the sharing the privileges we have in Christ Jesus would be more beneficial. For someone who is still deprived of the privilege of having peace with, it would be a great opportunity to ponder over it. There is joy, which the world could not give, in Christ Jesus.

Due to some specific reasons, some of us can’t be part of the celebration organized by anyone but we’d be talking about the reality of Christmas to our children. In between short nap and taking rest, we talked about the significance of the birth of a new king; the Savior.

All of us couldn’t make it home. We still have a troubles; a battle to fight.

Instead of getting discouraged, as we need to go slow on almost everything, we could focus more on the true meaning of Christmas; we could be in peace with our Creator because of the coming of Jesus Christ, here on earth. Our broken relationship amended so that we could be called the son of God.

If you’re among those people who cannot make it home, either by choice or due to unavoidable circumstances, it can still be meaningful if you spend time with God. He came to die so that we may have life, should we believe in Him.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. (Titus 2:11) In Him, we become the Righteous. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being make holy. (Hebrew 10:14)

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men!

P.S Merry Christmas!

The Loneliness of Life

During my formative years, I had spent considerable amount of time herding cattle, sometimes sheep, in the slopes of the hills.

Most of the time we were alone, except for our bovine friends, which we had closely watch. In the nearby shade of trees, we sat down, waiting for the animals to be fed.

It was a good time to render our thoughts over anything our mind would grabbed upon. It inculcates, at some extent, a wandering or thinking mind in us. I always had that longing for a cozy living room filled with good books, carpets, and warm chairs.

Where there are no hard soils to sit upon, we’d climb the trees holding onto our shabby books, either very old or typewriter-written books. In that vastness of the world filled with green valleys, rivers, and hills, we spent our time in loneliness.

We’d missed those football matches where people cheered, as loud as they could, for their teams. Not only that, we’d missed some local festivals as we headed towards the woods before sunrise. In those remote places, refrain from normal life, we spent our time.

The Lonely Lamb
Lonely Lamb; the Loneliness of Life

Loneliness is a state of mind; it is more of a feeling than the separation or disconnection with people. We can find more lonely people in the thickly populated alleys, sidewalks, and workplace of cities than in the remote regions of the world.

Ostensibly, one can easily possess loneliness when disconnected, mentally or physically, with people around us. Even with friends and families around us, we could have pervasive loneliness, which could be filled only by the Holy Spirit.

Loneliness in the Virtual World:

Here let me give a brief account of our virtual world before we moved back to the nativity;

In the realm of our present virtual world, people become prone to loneliness more easily than they did before. I’ve known some people who really counted the number of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on their social media posts.

Some friends met on the phone and chat through the available communication apps. There is enormous lack of human touch. A huge hole is left in our lives.

Words and one-liner communication can be easily misread, and at the same time, misinterpreted. Few people had stopped seeing each other face-to-face. When the machine gets conked off, for some, life isn’t happening anymore.

Something or someone has to fill the void. That void is hard to ignore. The brighter side is that such void can be avoided, but if not avoided, it can be filled.

The Shepherds of Bethlehem: (Luke 2:8-20)

The shepherds suddenly shot to fame at the birth of Jesus Christ. They are keeping watch on their flock living out in the fields nearby Bethlehem. They lead a life different from the townspeople. The Bible did not give us their numbers but it seems they did not interact much with other people, except the middlemen to whom they sold their sheep.

The shepherds, at that time, were generally seen as living a low life. Their occupation was considered as of little value by other people. They spent the night under the stars. They were quietly getting on with their business.

Suddenly, on the night Jesus Christ was born, the angel appeared to them. The lowly and isolated people were the first to witness the birth of our Savior. A brief description of the new-born king was told to them.

A great company of the heavenly host appeared praising the God. They had witness the heavenly host in their very own eyes! What greater privilege could there be on this earth than witnessing the heavenly praise?!

Those shepherds being the first to be told about Jesus make a lot of sense. In their isolated and lonely life, the shepherds had been given privilege. They become the favored people with the birth of Christ. Our loneliness, feeling of isolation, and lowly life could become the cornerstone; a block or the foundation of witnessing.

Immanuel – God with us:

The birth of Jesus Christ marked the wonder incarnation that God became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Matthew quoted Isaiah in proclaiming Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah.

Immanuel is a Hebrew word meaning “God with us”. Let’s read the text here: All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:22-23)

The God who dwelled among us never left us again. In His ascension to heaven we are provided with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

A life stemming out from Him would not be lonely, as He is always with us. It will be fruitful in the right time and phase.

There will be times of loneliness, the feeling of being forsaken, the feeling of isolation, and the feeling of helplessness but let us remember and remind each other the indwelling of Christ through the Holy Spirit in us.

Jesus Christ is the Lord, our God, who not only abided in heaven but also abided with us.

A Lonely Heart

The other day, I received a call from my ex-colleague. It was nothing more than a normal talk. I was updated of work pressure from my previous workplace. I somehow missed them.

Every morning, when the time came for office-goers to get ready and head towards their workplace, there’s a feeling loneliness inside me. Due to several certain reasons I no longer work, in a specified workplace.

It’s simple; I am missing the office jokes, gossips, friends, and the working habit I’d been accustomed to, in those bygone years. It is more of a feeling that we possessed in our innate being.

I have my children, always by my side, who keeps me engaged almost throughout the day. It was delightful spending time with those who loved you.

A Lonely Heart
A Lonely bird

Our loneliness could be because of the sudden change of place of living, way of living, and atmospheric influences. My loneliness must be one among these reasons. It might be for a short time or enduring; depending on circumstances.

Insecure Hearts:

Insecurity is another cause of our loneliness. We might not be able to help the needy at all time but we want someone to be who’s always there for us.

When our investments failed, or when we’re struggling with low financial loops, we wanted someone to bail us out. In one or more instances, I think, some of us wanted to declare bankruptcy. We are among those species that consistently need help.

At some level, we wanted to be financially stable. Yes, and that’s the main reason behind us working every day. We give our best at our workplaces, sometimes, the strength more than we could afford in our own home.

In our struggle for normal living with sufficiency, sometimes, insecurity cropped up in the process. This insecurity can lead to another level loneliness, which further brings us closer to our God, when we seek Him.

Here, it reminded me of the words of Jesus Christ: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b)

Jesus Christ had come to fill any kind of void. Our loneliness, insecurities are filled when we give our life to Him. We might be afflicted yet we will not perish. We might get insecure and lonely but not forever.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33) To get more out of this verse let me add this narrative paragraph, in the interim.

Mankind has been, through ages, looking for that someone or something to fill that void. Some turn to worship of nature, pagans, deities, etc.etc. People had this notion of pleasing the force behind our existence. And when they do that they felt secured.

God With Us:

As Christmas time is approaching, again, I wanted to reiterate on the indwelling of God. He is Immanuel the God who is with us.

When Jesus came to this world, truly in the literal sense, He is with us. God is with us. And because God is with us we’d never be separated from Him, from His love.

Only to the open heart, He will dwell. During His physical journey here on earth, he spent most his time with the lonely and outcast people. In spirit, we could be one of them today.

God’s presence assures us that we can accomplish His will for us. He is near to His children and attentive to their cry. His presence, being God with us, overcomes fear, worry, insecurity, loneliness, and our dissatisfaction.

Our God wants to communicate with us. He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) We will know more of Him if we commune more with Him.

At this Christmas time, let me urge you to verify your walking with the Lord, your fellowship with our God, your consulting His words, and your attitude towards Him.

He is Immanuel, the God who is with us. He is near and reachable, to the lonely heart, anytime. And that’s the joy of Christian life!

Young Parents at Christmas Time

We have started assembling the decoration items from last Christmas. Our young children are more than ready to help. As we mounted our small Christmas tree on its stand, they started singing Christmas carols, although bit by bit. Excitement filled our rooms.

There’s one problem though, they’d appreciate our work but they’re reluctant to help keep the house tidy. It’s a child’s play, and we understood it. While we’re busy hanging the items someone would be busy taking it down.

We sat down, as we had a hearty laugh. Few years down the line they’ll be fine, we said. Well, they are our future and for them we lived. It is relieving to spend time with young one in considerable ways. They possessed a mind still pure, which would soon be intoxicated by the groaning planet.

Every year when Christmas is nigh, we’re in a dilemma whether to decorate our rooms or not. It is one among those many forms of dilemmas young parents faced, at the end of the day.

Young parents are trendsetters. We are raising the future. How we celebrate the birth of a Savior; either partying or worshipping, would be sowing values in their lives. It would be something we cannot take a redo. We teach them more with our moves. We are sowing values, at the same time, reminding our children the heart of Christmas.

Christmas decoration of a room
Shade of simple decorations at Christmas time

For most young parents, either our children bring in the spirit of Christmas or they stole some portion of the mood, especially meditating on the words around the birth of Jesus Christ. Young parents could be left with fluctuating moods in comparison to single life. All in all, it is always enjoyable.

Generally speaking, young parents are either very excited or in dilemmas all the time. Not only during Christmas times. It is like two people, new to their job, who wanted to perform very well in sowing good seeds. They delighted at what they had with number of decisions, small or big, awaiting them.

Young Parents of the new-born Savior:

For a brief moment, I wanted to take you to the nativity story. Joseph learned that his betrothed wife, Mary was with a child of the Holy Spirit, before they came together. It was time for him, in taking decision, what to do next. (Matthew 1:18-25)

In short, the angel appeared to Joseph in his sleep confirming the child conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. He took her as his wife as commanded by the angel of the Lord.

The soon-to-be parents went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be registered with Mary following the decree for census issued by Caesar Augustus. (Luke 2:1-7)

The days were completed for Mary to be delivered. And there was no room for them in the inn, so they laid her firstborn, Jesus Christ, in a manger. These things happen so that prophecies could be fulfilled. They are the young parent who deeply relies on the word of God.

Now, as a young parent they are truly dedicated on serving their purpose of bringing up baby Jesus. It was their task at hand for the time being. The child they are raising, one day, would be a Savior for mankind.

Should we move forward to the occurrences in regards to baby Jesus, His parents have fled from one place to another. It would really be a great challenge staying strong on the promises of God.

Here are few questions I would like to ask them:

Did you really know it was the Son of God you’re holding in your very own arm? How would it feel to hold our Heavenly Father, in the form of human, in your hands? Did you really know the boy you feed today would deliver people from their impending sin?

Does your little boy showed any sign of divinity, being the Son of God, from time to time? Did you really know that one day you will call Him Lord? Is it hard to hold on to the faith foretold about your boy? Do you really believe your dedication would pay off one day?

Challenges as a Young Parent:

It is sad but true that there are many parents who give their all, in raising their children, who does not do well in life. They had invested their time, wealth, and wisdom in shaping a child. Still some are unsuccessful, we called them, which largely depends on the basis of the factors we’d weighed them.

We took many decisions for them; some did confidently while some did in good faith. Decisions, decisions, and decisions, are along the way. For example, the dress we led them wear before they could decide by themselves, and the schools where we sent them, etc., etc.

But it’s going to be worth it. For it is written; Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov. 22:6) I hope and believe that Our Wonderful Counselor would counsel them beyond what we can do.

Does anyone know who our little children are going to be when they grow up? Do you think it would be easier should we’ve been foretold? I hope not! Parenting is full of challenges.

As young parents, it might be challenging but our role is to simply channelized their necessities, which would help our children in serving their purpose God had set for them. It has something to do with more of their purpose than ours.

When we’re low on finances and unexpected problem came up, although quietly, we might question ourselves and what we had sacrificed for their sake. I don’t know whether you did that, maybe it’s only me.

No obligations to my dear children if they read this piece when they grow up. We are happy being your parents. My children, you should also devote their time and money in raising your children you’d be blessed with, I hope.

Our parenthood might not start with grandeur but if we carry out our responsibility with delicacy and absolute care towards our children, it would be a purposeful life.

In the end, Christmas times are joyful moments. Joy to the world the Lord has come; the greatest gift of all. Let us rejoice in the sacrifice of the Lamb for mankind.

As you sit under the mistletoes, submerged in the nativity story, trying to explain the heart of Christmas at your best, looking at the stars and decorations, let your hope be renewed. May your heart be filled with joy!