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!

Abiding Grace: The Joy of Experiencing Hallucination

In my journey of life, several times, I’d experienced hallucinations due to health related problems.

Those series are not my cherished moments yet it is worth recalling in counting God’s abiding grace.  In some ways, it is beneficial to me, in the walk of life.

Hallucination may mean, a state of mind or experience involving apparent perception which is not realSynonyms of hallucination are illusion, delusion, mirage, delirium, and many more.

Let me share you just one instance of the experience:

We were dealing with finance and accounting jobs in the office during those days.  In the middle of the day, we can be very busy with our work usurping our mind and energy.  The stage was set for my hallucination, and I never knew that.

Being in the capital city of India, Hindi and English are the spoken language, although Hindi edge over English here.  At an instance, it suddenly seems that all the persons near me are speaking in one tongue.  That too, my native language (mother tongue) and the likes, which was spoken in my hometown some thousand miles away!

This time my vision was not blurred, as I feel it.  It’s just that the language spoken or what I heard that makes the difference.  Hallucinating, in some ways, the experiences one had gone through can be dissimilar.

The situation was uncontrollable and I seemed to enjoy the atmosphere, as I did not know that I was hallucinating.  It was beyond what one could do something.

Still, I was busy working in my computer when it stop happening.  Workplace colleagues helped me get home that day.

Several wrong financial transactions were made by me in that short span of time.  But then, God’s abiding grace is sufficient for me as there was no such transaction, which cannot be rectified.  The occurrence helped me realized the so many good sides of my colleagues.


These few problems showed more of the goodness of my friends.  Many times, they sent me home or helped me out.

Blurred picture hallucinated pic
Unclear Perception

More importantly, it is a huge privilege to be able to wake up from hallucinating.  There is very less or almost nothing one could do when it really happens.  It is because of God’s abiding grace only, that we could be living.  That’s one among the joys of living.

It gives me joy to be alive and tell the tales of my mild sufferings till now.  Yet I am more thankful for everything that we have experienced.

But one thing, in our semi-conscious state, sometimes we tend to utter things which are less valuable.  So, dear readers, enjoy the joy of living life to its fullest extent while you can.

And, always remember, you might be more blessed, than some of us, to not have gone through sufferings which might hamper your being.  Be happy and stay blessed.

Since His grace is abiding and/or enduring, God knows what is best for us!  Yet it is difficult to say that all the time.

Altogether, it constituted, what is called, the Joy of Living!

Abiding Grace: The Joy of Sleeping

It was well past midnight.  I close my eyes but I did not sleep.

I am in my thirties, not old as yet.  My normal body functioning has changed, some years ago.

Just one mistake, I did not take my medicine in time.

My body needs rest.  My mind needs rest.  And the pain will ease.  If I didn’t get enough sleep, more serious problem might follow.  I was, already, warned about the possible consequences during my hospital stay, and I knew that too.

When we were young and healthy, sleepiness comes too soon – even before we were ready!  I wanted to read more but felt too sleepy to go on.  Before I knew it, it was morning!

When morning comes, I woke up fresh – hale, and hearty because of the good night’s sleep – rested well.  Get ready for the day’s work humming music with a huge smile.

Yet, when I thank God for the goodnight sleep, I tend to rush through it.  I hardly pause for a moment to let my heart be filled with joy from up above.  The happiness was priceless.   God’s abiding grace, which was bestowed upon me, I hardly gave sincere thought.

The night in my bed, turning from side-to-side, I’d battled for sleep and rest.  It was not as easy as it seems.  It was a gift from God.  When I can’t sleep in time, the night seems to be a long dark period of life.  One night feels like a year of drought where everyone is deprived of good harvest, which would eventually led to unrest.

But still, in those sleepless nights, when I can sense the Lord’s presence; my heart rested.  However, the body witnessed strain eyes and sleep-deprived body ache.  The Lord gives sleep to His beloved.  Sleep gives us rest!

Medicine-induced sleep is tiresome and non-enjoyable.  Several times I’d experienced it.  More than that, sedation is hard to bear when you wake up.  I have been through it, and I could say, I knew it.  The one gifted by God is all special more than we know.

To sleep and be able to wake up again is the greatest gift of all.  It signifies the superiority of the living God.  The day will come when we won’t wake up again.

I lay down and when I woke up the Lord is still with me.  When I won’t wake up again, that day, I’ll be with my Savior!

sleeping peacefully
sleeping peacefully

Once again, sleep is a wonderful gift we get from God.  And to wake up again is even more beautiful.  It is because of His abiding or enduring grace, which cannot be bought.

God’s abiding grace is sufficient for all, especially to His children in Christ.  His grace is priceless!

Let us be thankful!

 

Please fell free to add your comments, experiences, and thoughts.

Children of God: When the Angels hold them dearly

We lived in the third floor of a building.  We used the stairs every day.

There is no escalator or lift service in our block.  Only for some fitness freak people, we are their envy.

stairway of house
Stairway

For instance, walking in the lofty stairs could be risky as we have small children.  One day, as we walked down the stairs:

 

”Dear, walk slowly.  Let me hold your hand,” I said to my five-year-old son, cautiously.

“Papa, the angels are holding me! I will not fall” he replied joyously.  And he was right!  Sometimes, when he is galopping down the stairs, I couldn’t hold him.  The angels did!

Although this time, he was hinting at me that I don’t need to be over-cautious when his confidence is building up, as he walked.

Accidents and/or mistakes occurred in split-seconds.  In all the other remaining time, we are protected and hold dearly.  Even those split of seconds are priceless.

“Oh! I also wanted to have that kind of faith,” I sighed heavily.

Certain number of my life’s trouble would wither away in thin air, should I have that kind of faith in me.  My son was always a good reminder, or an agent of assurance from above.

It also reminded me of Psalms 91, also referred to as the Messianic Psalm in the Bible. The deliverance of how the Messiah would be.  We are blessed to have Him in our life.

Many times, Fear takes over my Faith, which sometimes, makes me wanted to live in reclusion: the short-lived joy, seeing the future as bleak, no way out in my reach, seeing self as a burden.

In those moments, in the least expected way, God speaks in a still small voice, as we waited on Him.  Troubles and sorrow are for life-long but His assurance in our pursuit of Happiness, is what we longed for.

Psalms 91 says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High.  (He or She) Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”*

Now, this is what I talked about or that my son had reminded me today.  Psalms 91:11-12 says,

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

How much care is bestowed upon us!  To us, the unworthy souls!

Had I knew it and be in Him, day in-day out, in all possible path of life, why would I be weary and so tired?  I said to myself over and over.

One very important thing to be noted here: The devil (read as Satan here) who is trying every possible way to deceive us, simply, did not take rest either.  The devil quotes these very verses (Psalms 91:11-12) during the Temptation of Christ. (Luke 4:10-11)

Once in a while, our eyes are blinded and we missed our path.  And, we wandered away from the protection of God via the angels.

In the end, let us remind each other, again and again, God binds us with His ever powerful words and deeds.

As the Psalmist declared; I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (v.2)

*my emphasis added.

A Broken Bicycle

A Broken Bicycle with chain
A Broken Bicycle

Sam, a young boy, was hustling down his old bicycle in the streets.  As usual, there were people queuing in the vicinity of a dented building.  He was trying to run pass the crowd when suddenly the cycling chain broke into two pieces.

Many times I told my father to get me a new one’, he murmured angrily to himself, as he stood there helpless for a while.

Another boy Jim, who was standing in a long queue nearby, was watching the boy.  He saw what was happening.  More so, he was envious of the boy’s bicycle.  As the boy was cursing, he knew that the boy had a father too.

‘Oh! I wish I had a daddy too’ he sighed heavily.  Jim was trying to get shelter for the night for him and his sick mother.  They are force out of their rented room few months ago.  Jim was happy they got a shelter for the night.

Meanwhile Sam seems to have a terrible day.  But his mother came, and took him home in their car.

Sam’s mother doesn’t look happy either.  By the way and how she behaves with his son; it seems she was too tired taking care of everything for the family.

In a moment, they reached home.  They called the local mechanical agency to fix the broken bicycle. The mechanic came late.  However, he managed to get there just before darkness takeover the dimming sunlight.

Sam’s mother enquired what took him so long.  The mechanic apologized, and told her that he had to buy some medicines on the way and that takes time more than usual.

The mechanic told them, he needed the money for his treatment, so he came despite that.   If not he wouldn’t have come.  He further told her that he used to work in a company.  In the company, he was in the back office operations.  However, he could no more meet his employer’s daily requirement due to his body ailments.  One day, he had to quit the job and he requested his employer to help him.

The request was granted and that is to remain available when there is excess demand for service.  But this time, as a mechanics, the skill he learned during his stay with them.

However, one thing is certain.  He will be able to pay for few medicines more.  The poor mechanic look so happy with what he got, his life.  He was cheerful and happy, humming few songs while repairing the cycle.

The necessary repairing is done.  He put his tools in a bag, and was about to leave the place.  He was so good in his work.  It left Sam giving him a big smile.

Out of a sudden Sam’s father appeared and thank the mechanic. He shook his hand and told him that he was watching from the window, as he was performing his job.

‘You came in the right time,’ he said.  The mechanic was wondering what he was trying to say.

Then he added, ‘I will not bring home my workplace stress with me anymore.  I needed to be happier that I was able to work although I do not fully love my job’.

Contentment depends on our approach to life.

Nurturing young minds

They were playing with their toys.  Enacting stories to the best effort they can achieve.  The elder would perform monologue when he feels like.  The younger appreciated the effort of her brother.  Laughter and cheering filled the room.  It is the ideal atmosphere every family would dream of.

The words spoken were pure, coming straight from the heart.  There is no sign of manipulating any situation created so that one might gain edge over the other.   Two kids enjoying their time with the few toys they had.  When they need to use rude words, I enquired where they heard the words.  It was from us parents or from outside the house.  They learned from what they saw and heard.

I hardly interfere while they were playing.  Since becoming a stay-at-home dad, I had the privilege of watching nearby them.  Whenever they needed an extra person for role-playing, I’d dropped in.  I served, mostly, as their quick dictionary or adviser the whole time.  It was worth the wait and the watch.  I feel like saying, folks don’t grow up.  The world is full of evil minds.  But I cannot do that either.

Many thoughts came to my mind; before they became intoxicated with the real world full of crooks.  The phrase, ‘Grow up! Get a life!’ was used many times, to the honest and kind-at-heart kids, who are not willing to get adapted to the cruel world.  Can you imagine what the world has become?  Our kids are at risk whenever they step out of the house.  Worst still, some are at a greater risk at home.

What have the human heart become?  What goes wrong?  Oh my!  There are so many things to tell.  Give the kids their own space. Nurturing and caring them to illuminate their innate being to create better societal values may lead to more peaceful surroundings, mind you.  The more we become old the more our minds get corrupted with evil thought.

By teaching them the way of life, sometimes I feel, we are simply imbibing the ideals of a cruel world.  ‘You know son, when you go out you should be careful not to talk to any stranger’ was a common piece of advice we gave them.  ‘They are not good people, avoid them as you can’.  We taught them so that in the least they can help us in safeguarding them.  That’s our duty.  But on the flip side, we are teaching them bad things that can be done.  You might not agree here.  I did not fully agree though.  But I wanted to emphasize on the condition of the world we lived in.

Had the minds been still pure as they did in our younger days, the world would be full of laughter and happiness.  Still we can something starting from our home to change the world.  Nurture the young minds to live up to their mind.  Bringing up children, if taken seriously, was a big challenge.  To bring up a peace-loving and harmonious mind in today’s world would be a huge challenge.  Still then, our best should be tried.

There are a tremendous amount of good things to learn from children.  Corrupted minds and corrupted thoughts should learn lessons from the young minds.  But who would do that!  We don’t have time for others, nor do we try to learn that costs nothing.