The Sensitive Plant: Touch me not!

Sensitivity could make us delicate or otherwise callous. While it is one of our innate quality, it can be hugely influence by occurrences and changes in the body.

Now, plucking the leaves of the Sensitive Plant, without letting it fold inward or droop in, wasn’t easy. It required lots of accuracy in approaching and moving our hands.

There is a rumor amongst us that anyone who can pluck the leaf, before it fold-in, have a good fate ahead. It’s just a rumor among children, and I don’t know why. Since the plant has unique sensitivity, it was easily agreed to.

It was more like a game, which needs lots of patience and accurate release of our nerves. Once the leaves folds in, we have to wait for a while till it gets open again. And we search and moved to another plant.

About the Plant:

For starters, the Sensitive plant is a perennial herb of the pea family. The given scientific name is Mimosa Pudica. It is a Pan-Tropical weed found mostly in Asian countries, South and Central America.

shame plant; open and droop-in
The Sensitive Plant: Before and after it is touch

It is known in different names locally, mostly depicting its unique characteristics. It is known in names such as – the Sensitive plant, Touch-me-not, Shame plant, Humble plant, Lou-nuak, etc., etc.

When you touch the plant, if it can fold-in by itself, it implies that the plant’s defense mechanism is working fine. At some extent, we are also given self-defense mechanism, which keeps us safe in many situations.

Now leaving about the plant, I want you to focus on your inbuilt senses. These senses provide our adaptability in circumstances, which was seeded in us by our Heavenly Father.

Sensing Around Us:

Quick reaction to people’s action and movement can deplete us in showing out the beautiful side of a person. Although this particular plant is created to be in this nature, we can learn something important about controlling our temper here.

There are some people who are real sensitive. Before we know, they’d fold into their own zone, which make it difficult to work with them. There’s nothing to worry if you deal with them cautiously.

This sensitive plant has thorns too. It is a clear signal of “touch-me-not” being displayed to the world. Several times, I’d personally witnessed the plant piercing my legs while working in the field.

“Be sensitive to each other’s needs – don’t think yourselves better than others, but make humble people your friends. Don’t be conceited.” (Romans 12:16-21) If you read more verses here you will be instructed on handling certain situations.

These types of plants, although it benefitted them, are creating nuisance by their simple presence. We should be aware that we possessed thorns to someone while performing teamwork.

However, these plants still has its valuable uses; it helped in maintaining nitrogen fixation in the soil where it abided. Our God has a purpose for all of us. No one’s useless.

More importantly, out of the thorn and unique plant a beautiful flower blooms out of it. It makes the world beautiful although it might be tiny. We are valuable in our own way!

Open up again, as the plant did, less you might miss the true intention of people around you. These sensitive plants did open their leaves again after few moments.

Lastly, appreciate all the creatures of God despite their characteristics features.

Sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit:

Now, I want your sensitivity be turned towards the work of the Holy Spirit. If we could’ve heard and follow the directions of God by being sensitive towards his words, it would the greatest benefit for us.

While God has been working throughout our life, it would be a colossal loss to our existence should we be insensitive to His works.

Some of us have hardened heart, which are insensitive and more likely to ignore the work of the Holy Spirit. Strongholds, in any form, could harden our heart.

We’re in bondage once, but no more. We’ve been freed to have a relationship with Him. No more dumb to hear Him nor separated by evil forces. We could be sensitive towards Him. Being senseless is dead.

When we’re sensitive towards the Holy Spirit, we become sensitive towards His work. We try not to become a stumbling block to the weak and take care of our rights; not to misuse it. (1 Cor. 8:9-12)

The Bible says: “and so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.”

Enormous amount of sensitivity and caring for others are involved here. As a saved person, we are no more an agent of the dark but an agent of the light. There are certain things we should not touch!

It is my firm believes that excessive or unwanted sensitivity could be healed by Jesus Christ. So touch me now, my Abiding Savior!

Dear readers, should you be longing for the touch of the Master; May you get touch by in Jesus’ name. Amen!

One More Step: Closer

On a foggy winter morning, getting up from a warm bed wasn’t easy. It is easy surrendering ourself to sleep inertia.

“Get up now. It’s devotion time,” said my parents. Devotion, that’s how we say it locally.

It basically involved going to church or prayer house for giving thanks and praying. Although it was a good way to start a day, we are reluctant to getting ready every morning due to the cold weather outside.

“Please, get up now! You have to study when we get back.”

“Paa, can’t we just pray here inside our house?”

“We can do that. But not now. I’ll tell you the reason on our way to church.”

So, we got up, get dressed, and walked down few blocks before we reach our church building. It was really cold indeed.

Stepping out on a foggy winter morning on our way to church braving the cold. Determination
Stepping out on a foggy winter morning

Now, my father had told us the reasons. Some of them I could still remember:

In maintaining closer relationship with God, we have to sacrifice something on our part. Here, it would be leaving that warm bed, which requires physical movement.

We need to step aside in seeking if we wanted to hear His voice. Our family member, at that time, was more than a dozen people which means there was a possibility of disturbing each other.

In our imperfect world, there will be times when you need to have the determination to be with God. God is everywhere, which is true. But in order that you might get closer to your heart’s extent, you need to step out of your comfort zone.

Relationships are not one-sided. It is our contribution and reciprocation that makes a good relationship. We cannot simply sit idle cutting the good cakes at one place. We need to move forward or fall back in our search for a good relationship.

Once we realized we’ve been save by the blood of Christ, our eternity-long relationship with Jesus Christ had just begun. When we get absorbed in our own personal whims and ambitions, our relationship gets hurt. And that would be the best time to take one more step closer to Him.

Moving out, from our comfort zone, towards Him shows our determination to spent time with our God. While physically stepping out might be symbolic it plays an important role in our spiritual life too.

Out of comfort zone does not necessary implies physically being very active in the public realm. It is more of a situation inside our heart.

There must be so many things we might have missed, which happened or not happened, in our normal daily life. It is because we tend to take the place of God in our life and start ruling ourselves. We know that we cannot have all the fun without our self-determination put to work.

This important life lesson from my father was useful in my later life. Several times, through the wilderness and happiness, I was able to spend some time alone with my God. I am still looking forward to spending more time with Him.

This initiative from my parents led me to step out from God in seeking His presence; my time alone with God. It was in the form of visiting Prayer Cabin, Churches, and at home all alone. It was a great privilege to spend such times.

Stepping Closer:

Here, you must’ve been familiar with the burning bush in Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. Moses saw the bush was on fire but it did not burn up. He got over near the bush checking out the strange happening. (Exodus 3:3-5)

It was from within the bush the Lord called out and gave the special task of delivering His people from Egypt. In short, Moses gave in to be part of God’s mission although he was adamant at first. On being part of His mission, Moses had the privilege of witnessing God’s work in his very own eyes.

In the contemporary world, watching the Holy Spirit working from distance would not benefit us, which many of us did.

When the Pool of Bethesda was stirred up, only those who stepped in were healed. A bystander would not get healed nor would they experience the work of the Lord, done through His angels. (John 5:1-7)

One Step Away From Safety:

In 2 Samuel 3:27-36, we read about the death of Abner’s death, which was followed by Kind David’s lamentation.

Abner was stabbed to death by Joab, in the gateway of Hebron – the City of Refuge. Once inside the city of refuge, he would be safe. Abner was a very brave soldier who guarded King Saul. Joab wanted to slain Abner to avenge for the death of his brother Asahel.

King David lamented: “Should Abner have died as the lawless die? Your hands were not bound; your feet were not fettered. You fell as one falls before the wicked.” So close yet so far to safety.

Should Abner do something on his part he could have escape for the moment. For this incident happen at the gateway of Hebron, this was a City of Refuge during those times. (Read Numbers 35:9-34 and Joshua 20 for City of Refuge)

The moral of the story is: stay inside the City of Refuge, which is our God. When we are outside the city, we are vulnerable to the work of evil.

Do what you can, on your part. Be willing to take one more step closer to God. Be safe in His presence!

There are times we simply can’t wait for God’s miracle to happen in our favor.

A Thankful Heart – 2

“Papa, I have something for you in my bag. We have to give thanks,” he said. He was smiling bright as usual.

“Let me see?”

“Not now, when we get home.”

We climb up the stairs until we reach our floor. Once inside, he opens his school bag and showed me a ‘Certificate of Merit’ which he got from a competition in his school.

“We have to thank God for this,” he said.

“Yes, very well said. I will do the honor.”

“No Papa, I will say it by myself. I know how to.”

So, we closed our eyes to be in one heart. He thanked God, in the name of Jesus Christ, for every minute detail of His help during and before the competition.

As a dad, it was a proud moment to cherish for me for a long time. It was more of my son’s thanksgiving attitude that I would cherish more. It was a good lesson for me too.

A thankful heart is more valuable than gold. It cannot be bought nor can it be stolen.

My five-year-old son prayed for God’s help every night. He even asked Him to stand with him so that he might not fear standing before the audience. I heard him praying every night.

At least, we should thank God when we get what we asked for. Although we missed tons of things in our prayers; I meant we get more than what we deserve. Should we get only those things we asked, we would not have survived this far.

There is always, always something to be thankful for. We can be thankful for the people around us. Without their understanding and their help, life would be really hard. They are the one who makes life worth living.

What about thanking God for all the works He did behind the scene? In other words, for those blessings that can’t be seen, or even felt, we can be thankful.

Whether in our good and bad situation, we should be thankful. Not only thankful, we should give thanks. That’s how the Bible tells us to be. Let’s read here:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God for Christ Jesus in you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20)

Sometimes we should be thankful for the adversities we faced on our way. For they could make us stronger in faith, it could be a renewing phase for our old and harden attitude.

However, it should not be taken as an obligation to be thankful. It should stem out straight from our heart. And that would be more acceptable to our God.

Yet we can ask God to give us a thankful heart. Or we can ask for revitalizing our once thankful heart. For it can get minimized in our busy schedule of life. We can spent some time alone and reflect on the work of God in our life.

It might be intended or unintended but a thankful heart keeps away the work of evil.

So this is about living a daily life. If I didn’t tell you the biggest reason to be thankful, it would be incomplete and misleading.

The most important reason to be thankful would be because of the sacrifice Jesus Christ paid for us on the cross.
With full of grace, mercy, and love, Christ Jesus was crucified. He took the pain for mankind. He was buried yet rose again from the dead. The price for our sin was paid, and gets us connected to the Father again; a place was assured with Him, one day.

Let us give thanks for this act of love for saving mankind!

Let us be thankful for everything!

Selfishness and Sufferings

There is no exception to our selfish ambition while in sufferings. Selfishness needs to be tamed, and that’s the hard part.

Selfishness resulted in suffering. And it is true the other way round. They go hand in hand yet they should not be together as selfishness would cause greater sufferings.

Here we will talk about selfish ambitions only in the context of a suffering person. Let us put aside those selfish ambitions for riches and personal gains for the time being.

Well, infighting has been going, on and on, in a suffering mind. It is caused by the outward physical pain and the daily happenings. In the end, selfishness becomes an integral part of a sufferer.

At my Hospital Bed
In the midst of suffering

Entertainment, once they are, in the form of plays, music, and the likes, could become a hindrance in living a normal life. I have been in this situation for a while now. I won’t talk deep about it here but there are occurrences I have to endure in my epileptic disorder. And sometimes it’s difficult to blend in with the normal surroundings.

Pain was caused in many forms. Not all forms can be avoided. But there are times when I thought some the causes could be avoided. That is when my selfishness came up. Selfishness, in turn gave way to more pain in the mind. And that’s my problem too.

In living a life, there are obligations that cannot be ignored. I feel bad when I cannot conform to the demands of people around me. I felt that I was selfish because I have to limit my activities.

In that way, the interests of people around me were neglected. At times, I found myself to be egocentric and self-centered in approach because of my weak physical condition.

May be, that is why the Bible gave no exception to any circumstances when selfishness could be utilized in normal living. Selfishness destroys unity and steadfastness to God.

There’s none who enjoy life for a longer period in solitary. Just for a short time, it might be enjoyable. I am not sure about that. We must learn to adjust in the interest of other. Submerging in our self-interest is being selfish.

Disturbances in life could be a blessing. If there’s nothing to bother life would be dull. Eventually, loneliness would ruin and kill our life.

Selfishness as a Stronghold:

A stronghold is a fortress where one can take refuge and safely dwelled with minimum threat. Here in this case, it is that fort inside our human heart where the evil could safely thrive in.

Selfishness could be a stronghold for the evil to dwell if it is not destroyed from time to time. If left unattended the fortress might be difficult to get uprooted. And that is what I wanted to do every day.

It has parasitic character which would eventually eat up its host; here our life or character. It has to be crushed, one day at a time, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

No one can simply spin ourselves in a cocoon while we are on the march. We are to work together as a team in a family, society, and in the church. Yet we are tempted, in many forms, to be a little selfish, manage ourselves, and stay away from people.

Beyond Selfishness:

Now, let’s see, in the Bible, what Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:2-3) There’s no exception given here.

People suffer, even the righteous suffer yet it could become the source of their renewed strength from the Lord. When the Lord blessed our sufferings it can bring joy in our life.

There is a time for all – time to suffer, time to rest. It is my hope that this phase would be used by God in strengthening my faith.

We all suffer but in different ways. There is no great and small sufferings, the pain inflicted might cause same destruction. But in the blood of Christ we can be made whole again.

Rejoice in every situation, says the Bible. In reality, it is really difficult but there must be a way out, I hope. Let us present our request to God, in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. (Philippians 4:4-7)

In that way, the peace of God will transcend understanding while in suffering. Further, God would safeguard our heart and mind, in Christ Jesus, throughout our journey.

There are still many people, saints and servant-hearted, who could help others despite their sufferings. I want to be like them!

Dear reader, if you too are still in your suffering phase I empathize with you. It is my prayer God would guide us through this phase without causing further self-inflicting pain in the process.

May the face of God shine brighter, amidst our sufferings, in our daily life!

Conforming or Not

We know it was risky and he too was well aware of it, I hope. He came running to leap forward and jump into the river bank below. But then, he stopped at the edge of the river wall about fifteen meters high.

“Jump! Jump! Jump! You can do it,” we shouted. We cheered him to give it another try.

He looked down calculating in his mind whether he’d be able to reach the water. There was a huge deposition, near the water, caused by the recent mud sliding. He couldn’t get his pride killed easily.

We cheered him again. I don’t remember who started it. We wanted to let him do it by any means, it seems. We, bunch of boys, conformed to let him jump so that he might learn his lesson.

This time, more determined, he went back. And he came running as we are still cheering for him. He jumped from that height!

THUD! A sound burst! He couldn’t make it to the water! He was reeling in pain. The clapping and cheering had stopped suddenly.

We quickly swim to the other side of the river. We stand nearby him. There was no immediate help available. We don’t know what to do. After sometime, he came back to sense. It was huge relief for all of us.

This happened during our pre-teen and early teen years. We easily fall prey to what is commonly known as peer pressure. We try to avoid being different and bear the wrath of ‘the brutes’ among our group of friends. Especially when we’re going for a swim, away from home, in the river nearby the hills.

Having not protested against the unwanted cheering and clapping, which caused great pain to one of our friend, I regretted a lot. Yet I am glad he has learned his lesson and does not sustained any irreparable damage to his body.

Conformity:

Conformity, in other words, is succumbing to pressure groups. To conform is to act in accordance with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, compliance to the surroundings, and the likes.

It is one of the most difficult stages to overcome in life, especially during our pre-adolescence or adolescence period. In our adolescence years, we wanted to be accepted, have friends and abide by their or our rules.

Grownups, like you and me, must have been through these stages in our life, I hope. However, the way we have experienced and overcome the same would different. The time has come now, for us to help our young ones when they been through this stage.

My young friends, if you are still in this phase, do not get discouraged if you cannot get conformed to your surroundings. This is one of the many tests of life you are about to get passed with flying colors. It is important to not get carried away with the swarm of flies.

In case, you are faced with dilemma day in and day out, ask our God for His abiding help and presence. The hormonal changes and the adrenaline rush are not easy to get by, but it can be conquered.

Do Not Conform:

It is enjoyable, pleasurable, and easily addictive to conform in the ways of the fallen world. Everyone enjoyed doing sinful practices, although with guilt ridden heart. The pleasure and enjoyment can be short-lived.
Now, let see what the Bible says for a believer to follow:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

‘Dare to be different’, in a good way, in the likeness of Christ is what the Bible teach. Do not depend on your own interpretation of God’s word, it can be hugely misleading.

We have lived in the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air. All of us lived among them at one time, following the desires of flesh and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. (Ephesians 2:1-3) But we have been saved by the grace of God.

Not conforming also means to not go with what the majority are doing in a place or time, if our deeds would demean our faith as well as others.

Participation and separation in the fallen world is a pilgrimage in progress. (2 Cor. 6:17) Our participation to the world must not discourage others nor should our separation hurt other person, in our path to follow Christ.

To Die Or Not To Die

As if in our hand, some of us tried toying with our life. When we hit rock bottom with no chance of recovering, we are tempted to think about it.

It might be unnecessary or unbelievable to even think about ‘to die or not to die’, but let us talked about it. The more relevant question must be the timing; now or when?

A year ago, I have my tryst with death too. For some hours I’d remain unconscious. It was not a great moment to recall the pain, when I become conscious again. But let me put a few here:

In that bout of my status epilepticus, I was given a chance to live again. All the things that worked together on that particular day cannot be a coincidence. The hand of God was surely involved, I would say. From the unknown vegetable vendor to all needed timely helpers and help I have received, it was clear that it was God who spared my life.

Seventy percent of patients who experience such episode resulted in death. It was written in the research paper I had read. I have made some research on my own about my illness. However, my doctors advised not to indulge in that process so I had deleted all my sources. If not, I could have shown you their findings.

Had I not regained consciousness I would have been dead, simple yet nerve wrecking. But I would be with my Savior, resting in His arms. People might say how unfortunate we would have been or otherwise. It’s just my supposition. Life, here on earth, will end there abruptly.

Purpose of Life:

I find no reason to boast or take pride in calling it our own life. It’s my life’, that’s how we called it often. We are not the owner of our life. God has a purpose in creating us.

Job, in the Bible, says, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2) God’s purpose cannot be undone. There are many verses to show God has a purpose for every man. “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5). Insight, from God, is needed to find it out.

For a believer, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Let me put it here about purpose of life. We wanted to talk more about the problem.

The Problem:

As I was recovering, my physical being was not restored at one go. It takes time to be able to leave the hospital. The pain, distorted eyesight, and other problems are not easy to bear. It is something normal to happen in life.

When something unusual happened: health not improving as we’d wanted, the unending financial crisis, our prayer not materializing, difficulty caused by choosing the wrong educational course, and many more, could makes us worry.

Many of us wanted to die instead of suffering more hardships and pain. But we should remember that to die is not the solution to everything. Sometimes, I also wanted to die, to take rest with Him, but I still have so many things to do; my purpose not yet fulfilled.

For those of us who lived with constant pain and difficulty, the journey could get challenging. But remember Jesus Christ is nearby you, watching you closely.

In our pain, He is pained. In our joy, He remained joyful. He wanted us to fight the good fight and overcome victoriously. In our suffering we are not alone although most of the time we seem to be alone.
When my purpose is fulfilled I would be taken home, even if I am not ready. So, don’t be tempted to die before the time comes. The time will surely come.

To Think About:

When this thought ‘to die or not to do’ loom large on your mind, take your time out. Remember our God is besides you when you endure that pain. Sometimes, He speaks but the Devil makes us difficult to hear.

What did Jesus Christ do when He was in the middle of His suffering? He had bore it all. Someday, our suffering will end. Someday, we will meet Him too.

Remember that Hope and Faith are to be use at its largest extent in our earthly life. Hope for good time to happen in future by putting faith on the Lord.

When you think you are no more valuable or no one values you anymore, remember there’s someone who valued you and gave His life for you. I am also in this suffering, from time to time, so I can tell you this.

Leave the matter to God. Let His will be done, even in our most difficult moment. It is my prayer that our God would sufficiently take care of us, even when it seems He is not working.

Again, let me end herewith the word of God, what Jesus Christ has declared, for you to ponder over:

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus Christ) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:9-10 with my emphasis added)

Let us try to make the most out of our life. That, we might live joyously but not beyond the permitted limit.

My Lost Spanner

Fall season for the year is about to end. People started harvesting rice from their paddy fields.

When the harvest season is approaching, it is time for servicing of our old and very small, Rice Mill Plant. For machinery work a “>spanner always become handy.

For starters, a spanner is a tool with openings or jaws shaped for gripping or turning nut or bolt. It comes in different sizes and numbers as the nuts also comes in different sizes.

a spanner and a ring
A spanner: for reference

For some machinery, there is a particular number or sizes, which fit with most of the nuts. And we stored these tools in wooden tool box.

Let me tell you something that happened in my early teenage days:

One morning, my father told me to inspect our field, where we grow mustard for its leaves and seeds, located in the vicinity of the hills nearby a river. We started growing mustard plants in the onset of winter.

I readily agreed, as I know he would be busy with machinery work during the day. I pleaded that I will ride a bicycle to the farm. Since the road can be bumpy with no proper road, my father doesn’t seem to like the idea. It is for my safety as our bicycle can develop a snag during the ride.

I kept pleading hard. So, I was allowed to go, using our bicycle. I took one spanner with me so that if it develops a snag, I could easily mend it.

My bicycle ride was smooth that day, until I accidentally lost control and hit a rock on the way. My cycle really develop a snag around the headset adjoining the front forks. I tried to tighten it, and alas, my spanner’s gone!

Where is my spanner? My father would need it during the day! I keep searching up and down the road but unable to find it! I had been warned about this! I am sweating despite the morning cool breeze blowing gently.

With a heavy heart I went back home. “Whoa! You’re fast!” said my daddy. I tried to gather my composure and smile back. “I saw you taking a spanner with you. Now, please give it back I am going to need it,” continued my father.

Feeling guilt-ridden and helpless, “My friends borrowed from me as we met on our way,” I said. Father said nothing but he helped me get ready for my school. He assured that he would manage without it.

The whole day I had been thinking about that spanner. What if I didn’t find it back! What will I say to my father? The thought kept repeating the whole time. School was not fun today!

When I came back from school, I tried to not come face-to-face with my father. I felt very guilty. But just when I was about to enter our house, father called me!

“See, what our neighbor found on our way to the farm?” he said. And that’s my lost spanner.

He told me that our neighbor went to get some mustard leaves for soup after me. He found the spanner in a bush on his way. Further, there was some damage to the crop and I did not inspect the farm this morning.

The truth was out in open! It was expected. I am unable to hide it. I was proven guilty! What now?

“I am sorry. I was lying the whole time. And I am tired. Forgive me, please?” I could barely manage to utter these words with my choked voice. I was filled with tears.

Father held me in his arms tight. “You are forgiven. Don’t do it again,” he said rubbing my head gently. And we prayed to God for His forgiveness.

A moment had passed when I regained my composure. This time full of joy and gaiety – free from my guilt-ridden heart. I regret not having confessed early before school. It is hard to spent time with a heavy guilty mind. My day could have been so much fun at school, I said to myself.

I wonder how my father could have forgiven me so easily. To which he replied because I am his son!

It is not easy to live with guilt. It can be devastating. Guilt-free life I wanted to live. It is good to confessed and reconnected with God every now and then.

We have a father who always loved us: A father who art in heaven yet His abiding presence felt all over the earth!