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

Plans, Eternity and Time

Time and Eternity

A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God. “God”, he said, “how long is a million years?”
God answered, “In my frame of reference, it’s about a minute.”
The man asked, “God, how much is a million dollars?”
God answered, “To Me, it’s a penny.”
The man then asked, “God, can I have a penny?”
God said, “In a minute.”

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)

The other day, as the family had gathered post Saturday weekend luncheon, among the various topics being discussed were the renovation of the family homestead, plans for the college admissions and the like. What surfaced to my mind, was the fragility of human plans.

“Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.” Ramona C. Carroll

Many a time, man has planned numerous events, for the present, the immediate and the distant future. Little do we realize that most of our planning is based on chance. We base the future on a sequence of events believed to happen in a particular manner. When one block is pulled out of the regular, things may still go as per plan. But pull out a couple of them, then most plans come crashing down.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

On the other hand, plans are needed to sort out our purpose and drive in life. Yet the whole procedure can be done, putting our Faith and dreams in God’s hand and above all, plan and know one’s limits.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Man needs to plan to grow and progress with time, else idleness and monotony would set in. Yet the lines have to be drawn at when, how, what and which plans to dream of and which not to. We need to dream big; but also realistic, kind, honest and true.

“God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.” Marcus Garvey

Advertisements
Posted in Christian, Life, Personal Musings, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Proportioning the Ingredients

Life offers its’ own share of ups and downs. At certain phases we feel swamped by the “n” number of “downs” we may be going through. Yet little do we realize that what happens to us may not be in our hands to a certain extent, how we react to it is. And this makes all the difference in the world, of whether we would be able to bring the “downs” to “ups” or reverse the trend of “falls” to our benefit.

The boy complains to his grandmother about his bad life: about problems at school, with his parents, with health. And the grandmother at this time is preparing to eat. She asks her grandson if he is hungry, if she wants something to eat. “Of course,” the grandson replies.
Then the grandmother says:” Here, take the margarine. “
“Foo,” the grandson protests.
– Maybe two raw eggs? – offers grandmother.
– Well, granny!
“What about flour and soda?” – trying to grandmother.
“Granny,” her grandson reasoned, “All this is inedible.”
To which the grandmother responds, ” That’s right, individually, these products are not very tasty, but if they are properly combined, they will make an amazingly tasty cake!”

Likewise for all the sufferings, trials and tribulations; something will come out of it as long as we believe, trust, hope and have faith that things will turn out to be fine eventually. For by His recipe, in the end, something extraordinary will come out.

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 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

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Random Thoughts

Through the Toil

“Don’t worry. It will all be alright.”

Very often, we come across these words but though these words are precious their impact varies from person to person, from time to time and situation to situation.

For those of us who hear them, the degree of belief oscillates from disregarding these words to acknowledging them in our heart or simply pass through the words realizing that this is what everyone will say. For those of us who often speak these words, they are said when we may be at a loss of what to say or can truly mean what we have gone through. When it comes from the latter, it genuinely strikes a chord to the person who hears it.

Whichever way or what ever context these words come into play, the fact remains that these words will not change the present situation but can offer a semblance of hope that time will pass through these troubles and we too shall pass this phase. As Charlie Chaplin had once said, “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.”

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. (1 Chronicles 28:20)

We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity. Barbara De Angelis

The world when it is turned upside down, is like a niggling wound. We can’t turn away from trouble and nothing will change when we run away, besides getting a temporary respite. Trouble can only be passed through and one has to cross the waters either at that point of time or later.

To quote Angelina Jolie , “I do believe in the old saying, ‘What does not kill you makes you stronger.’ Our experiences, good and bad, make us who we are. By overcoming difficulties, we gain strength and maturity.”

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36)

Instead, what we can do is glean hope from others and the Word of God as we travel through the storms and tempest. While we wish courage to all who have trouble, I wish compassion for all those who had trouble and passed. She was with you so that you would not forget about her and feel sorry for those who are today in what you once were and wept.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

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 Family and Society, Life, Stories Around the World

Keeping Our Dream Alive

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” Albert Einstein

From the very early days of school, in the course of growing up and gleaning knowledge we all dream of doing something or being that someone. In the course of time, some of us follow up on them while others shelve them waiting for the right time or completely foregoing them. During the period of achieving the dream, we come across various faces of people, some who burst our bubble, a couple of people who try explaining the practical aspects so as to make sure we know the reality and “hard facts” while others just watch to criticize and the very few who observe and offer unasked help or when requested.

“Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.”  Unknown

What happens when someone tells us that our dreams will never happen? Despite all the facts of reality, when our dreams come from an inner belief, no realism will put out the fire. To question our dream, the ideal response is to either ignore but what really happens is that we break down our dream to smaller sizes or forego it completely. But when we silently work and prove ourselves right would be like the cat that got the cream. Just as the story “Keep your dream” says, strive to prove that your dream will happen, not simply to set others right but also to keep your inner light, desire and wish burning bright.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C.S. Lewis

 

Keep Your Dream

I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs. The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up. That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch. He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?’ The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’ Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all. He stated, ‘You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.’”

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week. When the teacher was leaving, the teacher said, ‘Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.’
“Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.” – Jack Canfield

If your mom asks you to do the dishes, do not pull out your pirate attitude. But if someone tells you you’re not good enough, says your dreams are too lofty, or claims there is no room in showbiz for a dancing violinist – well then, by all means, pull out your eye patch, my friend, and take to the high seas. Lindsey Stirling

Keeping our dreams alive despite all odds is never easy. Yet the fruit of the toil is worth the sweat and the efforts as well as the dust and the grime. For all of us who have shelved our dreams, restore them and start off working on them so that we can look back and cherish the happiness of our hearts’ desires. To quote Emma Heatherington, “Life is, most of all, about love – follow your heart, live out your dreams, smile, be happy, see the good in everyone you meet and rise above those who try to make you feel low. Fill your heart and fill your soul – love, no matter what, is always the answer.”