DISASTROUS DISABILITY

It's one of the tuffest things to grasp; but nothing yields better results than this. We loathe it. We consider it our worst nightmare; while it is our well wisher bringing dreams to reality. We despise it; while it constantly desires the best for us. It's name, for us, is synonymous with pain; but it's single objective is to make us gain. It's like a ruthless coach that has the attitude of give-me-your-all-or-give-me-nothing! Hence we think of it as an intruder, hijacking our space. We run away from it, avoid it, ignore it and suppress it. We explain it away with excuses. It's so simple that nothing we do regularly can be done without its assistance. You know it - coz you and I stand accused by it! Got it now? Discipline!

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Our surroundings are the best analysts. They tell us more than we want to hear. They either accuse or applaud us based on our discipline levels. If you're a disciplined person, your office table looks cleaner, your appointment schedule smarter, your bathroom fresher and your bed room happier.

The reason you couldn't finish your project on time, or buy groceries for home on due date is because you weren't disciplined. The call you promised to return or the meeting you postponed indefinitely could have been avoided, if only you were disciplined. It's so practical that some of us can think it isn't that spiritual. One may say with the authority of God’s Word that, discipline is such a Godly principle, that even if the devil were to succeed, he must have discipline.

Discipline can turn a runner into a champion, a chiseler into an architect. It can make a preacher out of a passionate follower. It can bring an astronaut out of a star gazer. A loving-serving husband out of a demanding-bossy man.

Am I saying that discipline is the "only" thing that enables us to be successful and complete. The answer is both no and yes. No because we need other things as well. Yes because, it enhances everything. Everything will be sharpened by discipline. It's God's tool in making us like His Son - Jesus Christ (Make sure you read Hebrews 12:5-11)

If you are convinced that you need to be coached by God to discipline you - then read on!

FOUR DISCIPLINE DRIVERS

1. Stop thinking like a stupid - Think the truth

Read this verse and you'll get a hang of what I'm saying. Proverbs 12:1- Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. (I hope I'm vindicated now for using the word stupid). Like any other Godly principle, discipline also begins by thinking correctly. People who don't have the truth at the heart of their thinking won't have the privilege of developing this attitude. Truth should not only be learnt, but we must be mastered by it. Which means a believer of Jesus Christ, must allow God's Spirit to take control of his core being (heart, mind & soul) by submitting to the Word. Those who do so, will see the power of God's truth electrify their lives and become busy living a disciplined life. The Bible calls it being transformed by the renewing of mind. Only one of the two things can guide your thinking, a. God's Word(the eternal truth) b. Your thoughts (which are but assumptions). What coal is in comparison to a diamond, our thoughts are in comparison to God's Word. Without the truth of God's Word, all common sense will leave us only learned stupids. I'm neither joking nor intimidating. That's the plain truth.

2. Love discipline to love knowledge - Learn to love what matters

I often prayed (like most of us do) asking God to wake me up in the morning to beat my laziness or keep me from gobbling up more food than I should in greed (may be this isn't your problem, but you know what you prayed for). But I often felt the Lord was silent on these issues, until I was shot by this verse - Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge. What? I love knowledge. After all, the most powerful thing in the human kingdom has always has been knowledge. Everything (including technology) is boosted by knowledge (may be that's why it's called information and technology). But the Bible says, that a person who doesn't love discipline, cannot love knowledge. In other words, none can truly benefit from knowledge (love knowledge) until he learns to love discipline. The command here is not to be disciplined, but to love discipline. This is what the Spirit of God does in a person who each day submits to His authority. He begins to put His desires in us (Read Romans 8:5). Discipline is a Godly attitude. We tend to love things that are worthless and useless. When we submit to God's Spirit, He sets our minds and hearts on things that are of Him and He even makes us love what He loves.

3. Identify and work on the easiest area - Apply SCS

This is sanctified common sense. Here’s an illustration. The opposite of a disciplined man is a lazy man - sluggard is the name for him. A lot of space is given in the book of proverbs to this man (not for his merits, but for his maladies). Take a look at what He is doing in Proverbs 26:14 - As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. if you are like this guy(pardon me) but the easiest thing you can do is to think of a plan to overcome this area of indiscipline. (Please wait before you can dump on me all those complaints of how you tried trusting the alarm to wake you up, kept the widow curtain fully open hoping the piercing morning sunlight will disturb your sleep, etc.) It is not easy, but neither is living easy, but each day we practice it. Don't we? Listen to the words of a successful man, "my powers are ordinary, it's the application(of what I learn)that makes me successful"- Isaac Newton. Stop worrying and trying to set other things right. Work on that one area which is the easiest. I'm not at all saying, that, if you struggle with waking up in the morning, somehow it becomes easy just because you followed the first two steps (thinking the truth and loving discipline). No it doesn't become easy. But sleeping early(the day before), eating on time and eating right amount of food, working hard enough through the day so that you are tired enough to sleep. All these things contribute. This is what becomes easy. And then gradually your habits also will be altered. This is what I call - Sanctified Common Sense. Apply it!

4. Practice - This is the salt of this habit

What salt is to curry, practice is to discipline. As the proverb says "practice makes a man perfect", we shall truly become perfect, if not invincible. Many loose their talents because they don't sharpen them. They don't like taking their talents to the garage of daily practice to sharpen their talents. And hence the reward is mediocrity. I'm writing this to myself as much as I write this to you. One of the reasons I'm writing this is to sharpen my gift of writing (thanks for being a part of my shaping process - you chose to read this article!) Can you think of one thing that you learnt without practicing? Discipline in different areas of life needs practice. Practice is difficult only to those who want a good return without investing anything in the bank. Like Krish Danam said "You can pay now and play later or play now and play later". Pay now!

If you read this. You are in a dangerous spot now, if you choose to leave and do nothing about it. Take a pen or open a notepad and write down one/two areas in which you want to be disciplined. Write them down and immediately pray. Ask God to forgive you for being an undisciplined person and allowing this sin to ruin you. Ask God to become your Lord and leader in every area. If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, do it now. After you pray. Think of a plan with God's help to overcome that sin.

Everyday we can choose to live with the pain of regret or the pain of discipline!

Choose the latter!

DIVINE DISAPPOINTMENTS

The Lord never breaks His promises; he often breaks us – only to build us up through His promises!

The Word of God is flooded with hundreds of promises and it’s hard to flip a page without touching one. The human race, with history being its witness, saw hundreds of these promises fulfilled, tons of times. That alone, displays both the loving nature of God and His Unfailing faithfulness. However, the wisdom of the Lord is too lofty for a man to be able to predict His, save through divine revelation.

Of all the divine methods the Lord uses, the disappointments He takes us through, startle the soul yet stabilize the spirit. His WISDOM, as uncanny as it may look to the world, is sweet to the believer. The good Lord, on our journey to eternity, leads us through a handful of divine disappointments to help us reach our divine destiny. Unanswered prayer, the unconquered promised-land and many more under-construction projects, alarm us all about the promises of God, if not about God Himself. But the Lord is so amazing in His wisdom, that even when He allows us to go through a lot of seemingly foolish events, is still able to fork us out of our misinterpretations and help us make sense out of it. Let us scan the Scripture, to find the divine rationale behind these disappointments.

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Divine Purposes:

The Lord is a Promise-making God, this is good to know! Nevertheless, the trouble begins when we don’t understand why the Lord took 40 years to fulfill a promise to the desert nomads, while he instantly fulfilled his promise towards..., hmmm…well, wait a minute, think about it. Really – was anyone in the Bible promised something that was fulfilled immediately? Seriously? SELDOM! I can hear you whisper – a lot of people were healed immediately, a lot of wars were won immediately, a lot of breakthroughs too happened immediately. However, a careful study of the Bible reveals that most of the times, the Lord doesn’t fulfill His PROMISES immediately. He promises because he is an All- Loving God, he keeps His Promises because He is an All – Powerful God. And he sometimes delays because He is an ALL – WISE GOD! Here’s the clincher – His purpose, for all His promises, is just one thing – that we become like Him, see Romans 8:29 – “Conformed to the likeness of His Son”. This is God’s divine purpose for our lives, that He might be glorified in us. But, the problem comes, when the promises of God are taken out of the purposes of God, we miss the plan of God. The Lord marvelously takes us through a some surprising disappointments, simply to fulfill his purposes for us. More can be said about this, but meditation on Romans 8:28- 32 will be a blessing.

Divine Pattern:

Unfinished projects, unfulfilled promises, unanswered prayers – sounds familiar? Yes, that’s the Lords way. A heart that is hurt by an unfulfilled promise, from the only promise keeping God, understands it better. God’s pattern of work is as mysterious as the development of a baby’s bones in the womb of its mother (paraphrased Eccl 11:5). Therefore when the promises of the Lord are not fulfilled, we are forced to ask a few hard questions like – Why is this happening? What did I do to deserve this? Did I hear the Lord wrong? Should I’ve asked the Lord about His promise twice? Was it the Lord or my own inner voice? Was I manipulated? What does the Lord get in delaying this thing in my life? We ask and only ask to no avail, until we understand that the Lords purposes can only be fulfilled in His pattern and not ours. Our patterns are self-centered as our desires are; while He is working on something grander and greater.. Mull over this – Galatians 5:22. NO BLEEDING – NO BLESSING!

Divine Pleasure:

Misunderstanding God is the worst deception a believer can experience and is the enemy’s best weapon! In fact the enemy’s only agenda is to present God as the enemy while presenting himself as God. Yet, God, the source of all wisdom orchestrates life to fulfill grand things that reveal His Glory. When disappointments in life are viewed as God ordained patterns to fulfill God honoring purposes, no demon in hell can make us forfeit, God glorifying pleasures. God’s greatest gift to the dying, disappointed soul is not “Today you will be in paradise”, but “Today YOU will be WITH ME in paradise” – Luke 23:43. That’s why David could say – “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you” (Psalms 63:3)

Dear co-disappointee, get on your knees and thank Him for all your disappointments. Because in these disappointments are set His grand appointments.

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Friendship begins in the family

Friendship begins in the family

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

― Helen Keller

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The title sounds a bit cheesy, since that isn’t the truth with a majority of families. However, true lessons are those, learnt by experience and not by theory. Just like one learns a lot by surviving a ship wreck than gaining ‘gyaan’ from a text book. Friend or friendship – these words arouse in us a world of sentiments, smiles and a sudden realization of what the world would look like without those who make our lives lively. Friends bring out the silliness in us that we so passionately hide behind the pretentious mega-curtain of our performance-based-lifestyles and make us enjoy the humour in every silly thing about us. In short, “Blessed is the man who has friends, for he shall be better at being himself.”

Friendship doesn’t have a set place/age/time or any such requirement. Its better said in C.S. Lewis words ““Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself”. The world we live in has more to say and offer about friendship than probably all the other ages put together. Kudos to tech- friendship, it just takes a request to become a friend and a “like” or two to become a fan. But we all know it, that truth ultimately prevails- and so it goes with friendship too. Well said by the Anonymous friend – “true friend is the one who walks in, when the whole world walks out”. So let me assist you to the first place where this kind of friendship can be found and why it is authenticated.

Family- Friendship begins in the family and grows from there. This is the place God originally wanted friendships to breed. Why?

Institution

God established family as the first institution and functional human organization. Family is the first place where He intended friendship to start and grow. Why? Primarily- it’s the first (and many times) the only place, where we don’t pretend. We are candidly ourselves. There’s no other place on God’s green earth, where we are ridiculously ourselves. Remember true friendship is about loving the true friend, with all his/her true personality traits and not a fake image. That’s why true friendship must begin in the family, where everyone knows who the actual person is.

Information

INFORMATION- can be the nick name of our age! Right from choosing a tooth brush in the morning to the most important decision of our life, almost everything in between is decided based on the info, one receives in life. Life begins with accumulating info, then analyzing it and then adapting it into every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, some of the most important info about life like- relationships, friendship, sex and sanctitiy is passed on to young generation from polluted sources. The world has nothing good (everything is corrupted to the core- it only has a sweet coated, cultural appeal to it). Info coming from a polluted source has nothing but pollution that destroys mind, body and spirit. The book of proverbs in the Bible is a pungent reminder from our Creator that God intended family to be the primary source of info. Read proverbs- it’s the father educating his children about everything we rarely think of doing.

Inspiration

I have heard stories of people being heroes almost everywhere, except in the family. Somehow we think that if people are differently gifted than us, they need not be recognised, it’s a common disease both in parents and children. Inspiration is allowing a person to grow as God wants him to. The book of Proverbs has a good deal about it too. It tells us about the wise man and how his wisdom leads and inspires others to walk in ways that will enable people to grow in Godly ways.

Identity

If there’s one place a person’s identity is formed, then it’s in the family. Somehow in this world that embraces, earn more- live less philosophy – Our Lord Jesus’ words should be considered with greater reverence- In Luke 12:15” Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of possessions”. People who are perplexed about their identity, struggle so, because in the family, there was rarely a minute given to contribute to this most important aspect of his/her life. If you are a father/ mother reading this- kindly allow this truth to set this problem right in your family and see how this has a spiral effect on the life your child. Well, if your thinking how to do it- get on your knees and pray. The Lord is more than willing to help us. The most important people God placed in our lives are those in our family- if we fail to influence them and go around winning positions and possessions, then beware, you may run the risk of jeopardising God intended relationships and responsibilities.

Finally a word for the YOUNG CHAMPS- don’t fool yourselves by claiming hundreds of friends online- be a good friend to your family member first. Someone rightly said – If you go around looking for friends, you will barely find one- but if you go out into the world wanting to be one- then you will find plenty of them.

Friendship ought to begin in the family!

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FREEDOM - NATIONAL OR PERSONAL?

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 FREEDOM

The greatest, if not the only greatest day to any nation is its Independence Day. And as the tri - colour flag is elevated to its peak on the 15th of August every year, we commemorate its potential, purpose and it's plain call to see it, for all it’s worth. The cost of that flag flying up there has been extremely expensive as the unsung heroes of our nation bore the excruciating pain to give birth to the future. Martyrs and leaders who wouldn't live long enough to see this day, have dreamt and led us towards a free-India. And every year as we get a glimpse (through history, media and other platforms) of the painful yet the prosperous goal our forefathers have endeavoured to bring, we can't but steal into their joy and in some way participate in their patriotism. The fight now is over, the goal now is achieved, the land is free, the people are liberated.

 

All is well, till we are only disturbed from this momentary freedom as we discover the horror and the ramifications of the inner struggle for freedom. This is not a national cause, this is a personal one, yet this is a universal one. It is the way it has been for a long time. It is the curse man lives with. For a nation to be released from its oppressors, people can fight together. But what when the enemy is within? Can freedom come by fighting against the very one that empowers us to be enslaved. And no man is immune to this dangerous, old, universal master ruling us as a merciless tyrant. The Bible calls this master - sin, through which its co-ruler has also entered human race namely - death.

 

SLAVERY

Man ever since his knowledge of human history has been a slave to this invisible, yet so evident master. This has been the cause of every other slavery. For years now man has defined, re-defined, denied, ignored, boasted and in a multi-faceted way in his vernacular voices tried to both embrace and run away at the same time from it, only to discover that he is a slave to it.

 

SIN - REAL BONDAGE

Modern man has no escape from this reality. Though the high and the elite, the sophisticated and the highly intellectual only have denied what the common man has been trying his best to voice it - the root of its cause, the Bible hasn't shied away from calling a spade a spade. It is called sin. The human heart has been an abode for it ever since our planet was visited by it (read Gen. 3 for more info). And its primary consequence has been separation from God our creator - in Gods very words it's called death.

 

ITS PROOF

Man has lost his capacity to reconnect with God. Numerous inventions of gods and ways to gods themselves are no good to restore that relationship. Man is not only dead, but lost, lost himself, lost his address back home to God. This was the tragic end of man. How do we know? There are numerous evidences, let me take just three

1) Death! It is the constant reminder that we have all incurred the seed of sin - for everyone wants to live, but everyone knows they can't, they don't, and to an extent we all know that the reason is this deadly thing within us.

 2) Corruption! The very nature of man and all its entailments are also an evidence - our news and newspapers are full of the deadly consequences of sin- none is exempt from it, we all are the reason for it. Man is simply corrupt to the core. We can play the blame game by making someone else responsible for it, but not for too long.

 3) Existential Struggles! The inescapability of man's hunger for freedom, pleasure, happiness and so many other noble desires are all a powerful reminder too about this eternal chronic within us.

 

 

 

PURSUIT FOR FREEDOM

You don't have to study in great universities to know that you are in this bondage, the very aspirations, desires and all the discoveries of mankind show that man is inevitably longing for it. Because we know it’s a bondage. Furthermore, his insatiable inventions of entertainment are all clear signs of his search for freedom. But who will set us free from the old master and grant us this freedom?

 

 

GOOD NEWS

The good news is, that God isn't like man in any way. Despite man’s rebellion to deny his Creator, God in His inimitable manner has restored the relationship through His Son Jesus Christ. How?

 

John 8:31b-32 - Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

The only way one can be set free from this eternal bondage is by

 

Know The Freedom Giver

What were Jesus' teachings? About God He said, was His Father and He was His Son. This doesn't mean that He was a lesser God, but teaching us that He Himself is God. By helping us know that He has come to show us who God is. How do we know?

 

His brith - absolute humility - He, having a choice to choose His birth place choose a manger than a mansion. To show us the divine humility that has come down not to condemn us but to connect us back to God.

 

 His teachings - absolute clarity - None can come to God except through Him alone. He never minced His words. He didn't say I can show you the way to God, I know the truth to lead you towards freedom, or I can teach you how to live - He boldly in His own divinity claimed that He was The Way, The Truth and The Life – He is the Only Living Way to God.

 

His life - absolute purity - born through a virgin, lived an absolute holy life. His impeccable moral life and un-ignorable divine nature in His undeniable human likeness are the greatest authorities to question His critics  “can any one of you prove me guilty of sin?" - John 8:46.

 

His lifestyle - absolute divinity

He performed miracles in a God-alone-can-do-this manner. For in the healing of a leper, He touched him before He healed him by showing the world that not only was He God, but that He alone can love a man who was excommunicated by the world, who was infinitely unholy and untouchable to the Holy One. He raised the dead, rebuked the demons, rebuked nature, healed the blind, the mute, the sick of every kind. But His greatest act was to forgive the sinners while taking upon Himself the sin of the entire world by dying on the cross 2000 years ago.

 

His death - absolute penalty - for who can pay an infinite price incurred by us, by sinning against an infinite God, except He who is infinite. That is why, His death alone meets the requirement in setting us free by taking our place instead.

 

His resurrection - absolute authority - God rose Him from the dead, but showing that the death of Jesus met and also satisfied His anger. He rose with authority, by setting mankind free form its master, sin.

 

His ascension - absolute beauty - His empty tomb and the empowering of the early disciples all tell us about His ascension. He went up to the heavens and sent us His Holy Spirit, who convicts us about our sin, about Christ and about the inescapable judgement of God of all those who deny His offer of forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ.

 

 

His return an absolute certainty - He is coming back for sure. How do we know? All that He prophesied is coming true and so will His coming again be.

   

 

So what should be my response?

There’s no other human being in time, space and world who can offer the offer Jesus is making. In His death and resurrection, He took our place to redeem us from the punishment of sin from God and give us His life to know and enjoy Him forever. We are born once and death is for certain and those who don’t receive this forgiveness that God offers us in His Son shall be left to receive His wrath forever, but those who receive His forgiveness in Christ Jesus also receive God’s life as their gift.  

 

None shall understand the truth until by faith put trust in this Son of God and His work for us. When we believe we shall know the Truth and then the truth will set us free. If we repent (turn away from our sins) and confess our sins to Him, He will forgive us and grant us eternal life. The writer is one proof of how this God sets sinners free from both the bondage of sin. Not just from evident sins, but the very principle of sin that controls and the consequences that entail. Jesus both set me free and reconciled me back to God. May you be set free too!

 

Would you do the same and receive this eternal freedom that Jesus Christ alone can offer. To delay is to be negligent, to deny is to be foolish, to disbelieve is to be proud. Receive the freedom that Jesus is offering to you today.

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