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

The Omnipresence of God

Modernization, technology, education and learning have been evolving over the years to the extent that the shades of grey have been frequently increasing, marring the areas of black and white significantly. For the present generation of children, the distinction between right and wrong isn’t easy. Very often they fail to understand what truth, Faith and true values of humanity encompasses. The easiest way to ensure that a child walks on the right path is to make him aware of the ever-loving presence of His Faith and above all, to know that God will guide him to know the difference between the right and the wrong.

“Mom, how to live in order to constantly feel God’s omnipresence? ..” one boy asked his mother,”I did not quite understand this lesson.”

“I will explain it to you this way,” the mother replied, “as I heard myself as a child. Listen! Live, my child, always as if you always see God before you.
Do not do anything that you would not like to have a witness to the Lord.
Do not say anything that you would not say out loud to God.
Do not write anything that you would be ashamed to show God.
Never go wherever you hope to see the Lord.
Do not read such a book, about which you would not want the Lord to ask: “Show me her.”
Never spend your time so that you can be afraid of the question: “What are you doing?” – or the words: “Shame on you!”

( Source: From the book of Archpriest Arseny Tsarevsky “Lessons on the law of God”)

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Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes, Work

Countering Murphy’s Law

“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.” Byron Katie

If anyone has been subject to Murphy’s law that states that “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” would know how it feels when things start going out of hand. And when all the wrongs start happening at once, it turns into a huge disaster. The reality is there are days like Murphy’s Law and then there are days worse than them.

Everybody has to deal with tough times. A gold medal doesn’t make you immune to that. A skater is used to falling down and getting up again. Dorothy Hamill

The hilarious part is when we turn back and look over the events after a long period of time, at times the realization strikes that things could have been even worse. These “bad days” are best faced with a heavy dose of humour laced with a tinge of irony. For losing time and crying over them for long, would simply dim the light of the better days to come. The best thing would be to keep going and handling the ball from our court.

You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events. Joel Osteen

And maybe just stand on the other foot,
And instead of coffee, take and drink juice …
And turn your usual steps
In the direction where there will be more good …

And on this day, do everything wrong:
Put from end to beginning of the number,
And the most insignificant trifle
Fill with kind and high meaning.

And to do what no one is waiting,
And to laugh, where so much wept,
And a feeling of hopelessness will pass,
And the sun will rise where the rain has been falling.

From the circle of fate,
Take and jump out of the station unknown …
You will be surprised – the world is completely different,
And life is unexpected, and more interesting.

Rus Svyataya

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

Combining Our Thoughts

“….. but I shall toss my head and have nothing to say to them. Forgetting all about the pail, and suiting the action to the word, she tossed her head. Down went the pail, all the milk was spilled, and all her fine castles in the air vanished in a moment!” (Source: The Milkmaid and Her Pail, Æsop’s Fables, translated by V. S. Vernon Jones (London: W. Heinemann; New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1916), pp. 25-26.) 

While some of us may heard of the fable of “The Milkmaid and Her Pail”, others may have read of similar tales of other variants like Bidpai’s “The Poorman and the Flask of Oil”, “The Barber’s Tale of his Fifth Brother” from The 1001 Nights and the Jewish story of “The Dervish and the Honey Jar”. Essentially all these resonate the moral of ” Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.” Yet these fables bring to my mind, the dangerous turn of our thoughts and dreams which turn from being simple to lofty leading to depression, anxiousness and the unending pursuit for “the pot of gold” harming our health, mental peace and happiness in the process.

For instance, we all have suffered from depression, nerves, anxiousness, worries, stress at some point of time. What do all these have in common besides harming our mental peace and happiness ? They all arise from a combination of thoughts. We ponder of something that is yet to happen, guess the course of events and combine one thought, then the other and then the third and so on and so forth. We are all puzzled on how everything will happen or what will happen in one way or another. In the end, the result surprises us as the Lord arranges things in a different way. In such a scenario, what was the point of experiencing the nerves and depressing or worried thoughts?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phillipians 4:8)

When the thoughts of darkness surround us and surface to mind, turning to His Word helps to dispel the darkness and ward off the despair. When we turn to our Faith we destroy speculations and loftiness. As said in the Psalms, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)

On another note, we need to plan and foresee to achieve certain goals for the future but pure conjectures, speculations and lofty thinking don’t help our dreams but rather, crashes them putting them on hold. Learning to distinguish between thinking, planning and pure “counting of chickens before they hatch” is what life and experience teaches us.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes

Predictions in Advance

One of the main features on the daily newspapers are the section titled “Horoscopes”, “Zodiac” or “Star Signs” and the like. As far as archaeological evidence has shown, this practice has been there since the ancient times, from era of the Egyptians and the Greeks. This astrological chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, astrological aspects and sensitive angles at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person’s birth has been studied in great detail in order for man to gain a foothold into the course of events yet to happen. Derived from the Greek words of hõra and scopos meaning “time” and “observer”, other commonly used names for the horoscope include natal chart, astrological chart, celestial map, sky-map, star-chart, cosmogram, vitasphere, radical chart, radix or chart wheel.

From studies of divination to horoscope traditions of astrology, celestial maps or natal charts have been in frequent use even today. Yet the thought lingers on how much can we really know in advance or whether all this really helps. Do these predictions take us away from our faith or bring us closer to the truth.

“Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.” E.M. Forester

No one knows in advance
Who and with whom fate will bring:
Who will be a friend, who will be the enemy,
And who will be familiar, just like that,

Who will make happy, who will betray,
Who will take away, who will give everything,
Who will pity deeds and words,
And who will separate bread and shelter.

With whom you can do everything,
to the simplicity,
And with whom you will not risk it on “you will open your heart to someone,
and you will close the door before someone.

You believe in someone, as in yourself,
you endure someone without loving
With one in sorrow at least where,
With the other, and in the joy of trouble

No one knows in advance,
what we have in this world is waiting for:
Who brilliant success,
whom shame for a grave sin.

All my life luck – one,
pain and suffering – the other.
one – for the truth is an eternal battle,
Others – and a lie by itself.

So we live on earth
Now in virtue, now in evil.
We sin on youth, sometimes,
On circumstances and order.

We’re leading another’s mistakes
And we don’t recognize ours alone,
we’re trying to hurt our friends,
And we’re unforgivable.

We are silent, when it is time to shout,
We shout, where it is necessary to be silent,
we do not value shrines.
And before the gray shiver.

We cherish our own “I”,
Then accusing, then cursing,
We proceed in the eternal vanity,
You look … and we are not the same.

No one knows in advance
What all this will lead to.
And life goes, meanwhile,
Partially or … for good.
– Rus Svyataya

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, poetry

Gift of Grace

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” (Ephesians 4:7)

As time has again and again proven, one of the greatest fallacies of man is that we take a lot of our blessings, gifts and sacrifices of others for granted. There is a fine distinction in learning to respect others when they do their job out of duty or out of love. Come to think of it, how many of us have actually opened our eyes and thought about the numerous people who do their work so that our day goes smoothly.

“Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another.” (John 1:16)

Being human, its’ natural to think of the greener fields on the other side than the barren land that also exists. Yet to practice the art of “gratia” or “grace” we need to learn to appreciate all. What we term as “luck, fortune or advantages” are all forms of God’s Grace, which the sooner we learn to appreciate them, the longer we can put them to good use.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Despite all the successes or uphills that we enjoy, it takes a mere matter of seconds for things to go haywire and then downhill. Being prepared for all eventualities as well as to enjoy the “lucky breaks” and the grace of God requires us to grow a soul of peace, respect and contentment. For then we learn to value not just His Grace but His Mercy as well.

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6)

How quickly we get used to the good,
We often make God ours,
And take grace for granted,
And do not value mercy anymore.

We get used to ordinary problems,
We call our sins with mistakes,
and out of habit we pray and repent,
We take forgiveness as it were.

Trying to solve difficult tasks
And with his head bogged down in bustle,
We take the Cross of Christ for granted,
I’l just forget about the Cross.

We skillfully juggle doctrines,
quote the Scripture for an encore,
But daily recognize the impotence,
When we go with a sin to compromise.

It is so difficult to live in the world quite God’s way,
As for the first time tasting the grace …
How quickly you get used to the good,
God forbid, have to wean

Margarita Kolomiytseva

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life, poetry, Stories Around the World

Making of the Family

The institution of marriage is one of the most sacred things of life. For two people to trust each other and share their lives, requires a magnanimous amount of courage, love and sacrifice. This journey involves the active and equal participation of two individuals, “give and take” from both sides and sharing of both sorrows and joys. Marriage then on leads to family.

Family is the place where a person should always be comfortable, understood, supported and heard. Family is the one place where one can hide from the whole world. Family has no envy, rivalry and controversy. Each person is understood almost without words. Family is where happiness lies in just being together.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Richard Bach

Being part of a family involves strength,respect, understanding and most of all love in order to flourish. Unless mutual effort lies in everyone’s part, family can never be complete and whole. Society has its’ own share of happy and broken families. Yet as long as we can help it, giving a try to keep the family going is a must. If all avenues and paths fail, then its’ time to break off the unit.

Below is a poem I found on one my social networking pages. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a title nor the author’s name. Yet these simple lines bring out the sweet essence of family.

Real happiness nests in simple:
In the way he comes from work every evening,
How she fills their home with comfort,
And how together they are every Saturday evening.

How she worries, whether he ate at dinner,
How he wonders what she is writing about,
How she permits not to turn off the light,
And how he agrees to turn it down.

How they make plans for the day and for the year,
How they sometimes do not interfere with each other,
How everything, in general, is going slowly
In one easy circle.

What is so wonderful about it? … It’s life! …
Here the pots rattle and the floorboards creak …
Yes! … but it is here that it is possible to love
And to read each other – to the last page …

Posted in Christian, Daily, Personal Musings, poetry

Walking with Us

During the weekend at the beach, as I watched the waves lapping the shoreline, the words from the poem “Footprints in the Sand” drifted to my mind. During the freshman years in my college, the poster of the poem had graced the hallway leading to the indoor recreational area in the dormitory area. Over the years, the words have been the refuge for me and many of my friends, giving hope and courage in the days we were tested.

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5 and Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Many of us at some point in our lives may have come to a point, when we were plagued with fear, doubts, insecurities and uncertainty of whether things would get better or are we alone in this world. These feelings echo in us during the trying times or when go astray and fall into trouble. Yet what we don’t realize is that by His Grace and our Faith in Him, we are never alone. Whenever we feel that no body understands us or we are all alone, the Lord is always there with us, guarding and guiding us through the dark times. As we strengthen our Faith, the feeling that He is always watching over us becomes an inherent part of our being, leaving us feeling cherished all the time.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22