Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings

Refresh from Tiredness

There are some days when we get exhausted, not just physically but mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Yet when we try to relax, it doesn’t happen. The question then arises what are we tired of. The truth is we are just tired of ourselves.

We are exhausted by our experiences as well as expectations, fears, speculation and anxiety.

We are drained from our feelings of guilt and trying to control everything.

We get spent by trying to model situations, by trying to achieve the impossibility of predicting every twist and turn, every reaction and getting ahead of time to control every minute detail.

We get worn out by looking back at every instance for any analogue and cliches.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

The easiest way to tackle this is pretty simple but the most difficult to achieve. The way out is to stop comparing, stop scaring ourselves, not building illusions, do not think for others and stop the constant drivel and dialogues in our own head. When in the state of being bombarded by the baloney of thoughts, let go and realize that neither did we create ourselves nor can we attempt to. Just like the first man was created by God or even if the atheists say, it was a lot of sciences and chances, the very same God (or chances as they believe) will take care of all the rest. So breathe, live and rest.

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

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Posted in Christian, Daily, Life, Photography Art

Flexible through the Winds

In the areas where the winds are mighty, the tall palm trees often grace the landscape. Though there are hardly any oaks or similar tall stately trees to be found around. The strength and beauty of the tall palm trees to survive through the huge storms or strong gusts of wind lies in their ability to be strong and flexible. They sway with the wind, bending almost down to the ground at times and that ability allows them to survive the forces of nature.

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. Tony Robbins

The Word of God teaches us to be resilient and pliant when we face the powerful winds that are part of life. When we put our complete faith and trust in His Word, we would be able to adapt to anything that comes our way. As the destructive forces and thoughts push us; lean to adapt keeping our principles and Faith strong so that we can be flexible to plan our sway according to the Lord’s Will. In fact, in doing so we learn to use the force of the winds to make us even stronger and sheltered under the Lord’s wings.

“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” Confucius

Have you ever observed children as they learn new things ? They don’t have any fixed notion or ideologies. They listen to what is told, the first words and sounds they say are what they hear when we as adults say them. When a child begins to learn to write and does not know what is expected of him, their hands are completely flexible and obediently controlled by the hand of their parents and teachers mother; as soon as they imagine what they understood and comprehend, tries to “help”, everything goes at random: that’s what I mean when saying that the power of God is accomplished in weakness.

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. Virginia Satir

Like the sails of the ship, the wind can fill it so that it will carry the whole ship – just because the sail is flexible; if instead of a sail you put a solid board, then nothing will come out. One of the many things that God constantly tries to teach us instead of the imaginary, insignificant and anarchic “strength” that we hold to is fragility, flexibility, complete surrender to God.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.’ James 4:13-17

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Drowned by Expectations

When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on. LL Cool J

Life is known for its’ curve balls, treacherous routes and sudden rides. When we start our journey, we were given a blank slate. Over the years, with the lessons that we have learnt, instances that we have witnessed and experiences that we have gone through, we start filling in the spaces. Somewhere along the way, when we use the colour of expectations too much, we discover the fallacy too late. For every adversity has its’ own way in and way out, but the path clears when we remove our blinders, lower our expectations and use our common sense to put our faith, trust and intelligence to good use. Although the “drowning man” had blind faith, if we are unable to discern that “His Grace and His Faith” can also show us the path at the right time when we look for it, then we need to cement our Faith with insight and common sense. Else this will cost us our blessings from His Grace, His Love and His Mercy.

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.” The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on. Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.” To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on. Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
So the helicopter reluctantly flew away. Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!” To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?” (Various versions of this parable can be read online and has been quoted in different works like Beck, Joko; Smith, Steve (1989). Everyday Zen: Love and Work.)

“However desperate the situation and circumstances, don’t despair. When there is everything to fear, be unafraid. When surrounded by dangers, fear none of them. When without resources, depend on resourcefulness.” Sun Tzu

Posted in Christian, Daily, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Jump With Faith

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” ( Luke 12:25-26 (NIV))

When we always enter unknown territory, from being simply new at the workplace gatherings to high school reunions or settling into a new town to relocating to a new profession or hearing bad news in the hospital; the feeling of wariness transcends in all of us. In those times, there is nothing more comforting than having someone familiar or something familiar to lean on to. The pillar of support can range from family, friends, our church or community to our memories of good times, our old comfort blanket or even our treasured memorabilia. Yet what we often fail to realize is that the strongest comfort comes from none other than Our Father in Heaven. The gentle calmness in the restless mind, the sudden peace that flows through us, the strength to brave the new day and the hope of the new dawn are what we get when we read and understand His Word. Through centuries, the Word of God has withstood the test of time. Yet of all the things fickle in this world, His Word will never change like the weather nor will His Hope ever leave us when we put our entire trust and faith in Him.

“..But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

One day late in the evening a fire broke out in one of the houses. The whole family – the father, mother and children, shocked by what was happening, ran out into the street and watched the fire flare up. And suddenly everyone understood that among them there is no youngest member of the family – a five-year-old son. Most likely, he, frightened by the flame and smoke, instead of going down, climbed the stairs to the very top. One could not even dream of finding him. Suddenly, a window opened and a child’s distorted face appeared in it. In desperation, the father shouted: “Jump!” The kid, seeing only smoke and flames in front of him, shouted, “Dad, I can’t see you!” His father replied, “But I see you, do not be afraid, jump now!”
The boy, having gathered his courage, jumped and found himself right in the arms of his father. It is this faith that God expects from us!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Like the times when we cast our hope on our firefighters, emergency personnel and technicians, when the going gets tough and shoulders are overburdened; the sooner we cast our cares on to His Shoulders, the lesser will we be troubled and the lesser the hardships will seem For just as the song goes, “our God is an Awesome God, He reigns from heaven above, With wisdom, power, and love, Our God is an awesome God”, so will we be able to face what life throws at us.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” ( 1 Peter 5:7-10)

Posted in Christian, poetry, Stories Around the World

On Christmas Eve

“… and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” “(Mathew 2:2)

As written in the Gospel of Matthew, a mysterious star had appeared over the place where Christ was born in Bethlehem on the first Christmas, there by leading the wise men (the Magi) to find the baby Jesus and visit him. While many have debated about what the Star of Bethlehem really was; some believing it to be a fable or a North Star, planets, comets and the like. Also some astronomers believe that evidence proves it to be a “nova star” originating at that time and at that point. Either way, the star proves as a guiding light not only to find the baby Christ but also as a reminder that His Birth will bring us light in the gloomy depths of the World. As said in the scriptures, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

On Christmas Eve as we remember, narrate and read about the birth of the Lord, knowing that God’s gift has to be lived and shared will help us live the gift of Life as well as the blessings He has bestowed on us.

“God’s Gift” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

An angel-child on Christmas Eve
Did God send to the world.
“As you walk among the pines,”
He said and then he smiled,
“Do cut a tree and, in my name,
Do give it to the kindest
And the sweetest child on earth.”
The angel-child was puzzled deep:
“Whom shall I give it to?
How shall I know which of the babes
Has earned the prize of our Lord’s grace?”
“You’ll know,” was all God said,
And the Heavenly Host did part.
The moon stood high and lit the road
That led into the city.
The air was full of happy song,
Joy awaited every child…
So with the tree upon his back
The cheerful angel boldly strode.
Now, take a look in every window:
What cheer in every room!
Christmas trees all burning bright
As they do on Yuletide night.
The angel now began to rush
And made his way from home to home,
So as to find that special one
Who would receive God’s gift.
And everywhere he looked, he saw
Such fine and mindful girls and boys.
But each, on seeing the Christmas tree,
Forgot their manners and their poise.
Some said, “That tree’s for me!”
Some answered, shameless as could be:
“You aren’t worth half a tree,
I’m better than you, you see!”
“Oh, no, I say, that is my tree
You are not half as good as me!”
The angel listened quietly
And looked upon them sadly.
Every one was full of boasts
And each did praise himself the most.
Their eyes did squint with envy,
Their gazes — black with fear.
The angel ran onto the street,
And heaved a sigh, “Oh, Lord, my dear!
Do tell me which of them deserves
Your kind and precious gift!”
Then on the street our angel met
A tiny boy, at best knee-high.
He stared right at that green pine tree
His face did glow and shine.
“A tree, a tree!” he clapped his hands,
“Oh, what a shame I don’t deserve
This gift — it’s not for me…
But won’t you take it to my sis,
Who lies at home in bed so sick?
It would make her happy! Yes!
No one deserves it more than she!
She earned it with the tears she shed!”
The boy then poked the angel-child
And the angel-child did smile
And gave the boy that Christmas tree.
And then, as if by miracle,
The stars fell from the sky,
And sparkling like green emeralds
They encircled that Christmas pine.
It shimmered, twinkled, winked and gleamed,
For it wore the mark of grace Divine
That little boy stood struck amazed
And trembled in his rapture…
The angel witnessed that boy’s love
And tears streamed down his face.
And the angel brought to God that news
That was the greatest grace.

(Translated/adapted by John Freedman)

Posted in Christian, Daily, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Give Us Our Daily Bread

Miracles often occur in our daily life. Sometimes we recognize the, other times we call them coincidences, chance events or circumstances. We try to reason out everything, but on some occasions we reason after the event has happened. Why didn’t we do it then ? Because we were preoccupied or tense or not thinking. In such a case, was it by chance that we had forgotten to think. I had read this story on my social network pages, apparently based on real events and I would like to share it in this special season. This story strongly reminds me of miracles and the power of prayer.

How much does a prayer weigh?

One day, an unhappy woman with a gaunt face entered the store and asked the grocer to give her groceries so she could cook dinner for her children. He asked the woman how much money she had. She replied, “My husband died in the war. And I have nothing but a little prayer.” The merchant admitted that in those days he was not very sentimental and believed that his grocery store was not a place for free distribution of bread to the poor. He casually threw out, “Write it on a piece of paper”, and he continued what he was doing.

To his surprise, the woman took a piece of paper out of her pocket and handed it to the grocer across the counter. She said,” I did it at night when I was looking after my sick child.” Not having had the time to recover from his surprise, the grocer took a piece of paper, but he immediately regretted that he had done this,”what should he do now and how to answer?” Suddenly he had an idea. Without even reading the prayer, he put the piece of paper on the scales and said, “Let’s see what it is worth.”
To his surprise, when he put a loaf of bread on another scale, the scale arrow did not budge. He was even more embarrassed because the arrow continued to stand still, although he quickly put food on the scales, because the other buyers were looking at him. The grocer tried to be rude, but without success. He blushed and therefore became even more angry. In the end, he murmured, “Well, that’s all the scales can handle. Here is the package. You have to pack it all yourself as I’m busy.” Making a sound like a soft sob, the woman took the bag and began to pack the food, wiping her tears with her sleeve as she went about her task. The grocer tried not to look, but in a quick glance saw that he gave the woman a rather large package which still had some space left. Without saying anything, he threw a large head of cheese onto the counter. He did not see the timid grateful smile that flashed in her wet eyes in response to his kindness, whom he had denied with the deceptive impression of his stinginess. When the woman left, the grocer approached the scales, scratching his head and shaking it in bewilderment. He later found the solution.The scales were broken.

The years went by. The grocer often recalled this incident and did not know whether the solution he had found was correct. Why was that woman’s prayer already written and ready to meet his unexpected demand? Why did the poor woman come precisely when the scales were broken? What confused him so that he did not even notice this breakdown and continued to impose products when only a scrap of paper lay on the scale? He felt like a fool and hardly understood what he was doing. The grocer has never seen this woman again. But he had never seen her before. Yet until the end of his life, he remembered her better than any other buyer.

He knew that this incident was not a figment of his imagination, because he still kept a scrap of paper where the prayer of that woman was written: “Please, Lord, give us our daily bread.”

Natalya Solunskaya

Posted in Christian, Daily, Life, Personal Musings

Deprived by Doubts

One of the most common ways that we deprive ourselves of happiness are “the doubts” that continuously provoke the mind. For instance, when we buy any expensive gadget or any item like a car, cell phone, dresses, cruise tickets or the latest laptops, we continuously skim and look for offers, plan on the pros and cons as well as try to budget and pray about it. Yet once we receive it, we often have a mixed response. Initially the thrill is there of the brand “new”thing and we try to explore it, use it and show other as well. Yet after sometime, when something else new comes up or we see something better, we then wonder if we should have bought “it” later or had waited for some more time for something better to come up or a larger discount on what we had wanted. The joy and happiness of the “acquisition” becomes negated by anxiety, worry, sadness and disappointment all because of our doubts.

“Give thanks in everything: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Instead of turning onto the track of frivolous doubts and dissatisfaction, it would be better if we prayed about our choices, made our decisions wisely and first thank for the events that have happened. Each time the doubts creep into our mind, think of the days and the “whys” of our need. As long as what we have attained serves the purpose, neither the brand, model or whether scores of people have it really matters.

“Don’t ever doubt yourselves or waste a second of your life. It’s too short, and you’re too special.” Ariana Grande

If we indulge in every niggling doubt that lurks in the mind based on what we see, hear or assume; then we would never find time to be happy with anything. Instead if we learn to grow our trust and faith in His Grace that all things happen for a reason, even though we often assume it is only based on chance and circumstances. When we try to rejoice and find joy in the smallest things that we had wished for or had happened just like that, the good moments in the timeline of our memories increases and prepares us for the journey ahead.