Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wonderful day

Note that I won't be coming to Church tomorrow - may swing by for the Sunday school class, since I don't feel comfortable handing over my class to others.

Enjoy the perunnal and related fun stuff.  How are you all coming up with your preparation for talent competition?  Today early morning, I finished writing the speech for my son - thanks for the input some of you provided.

Today I attended the Holy Qurbana and the baptism of the twins - had a wonderful day!!

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7 Books of Wisdom

The number 7 has so much significance - click here to read them all. Watch the video below to learn about other prominent numbers in the Bible. Out of these, 7 stands out indicating perfection.



These are the seven Books of Wisdom

  1. Job,
  2. Psalms,
  3. Proverbs,
  4. Ecclesiastes,
  5. The Book of Wisdom,
  6. The Song of Songs (Song of Solomon)
  7. The Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 

Out of the above 7 books, here are links to The book of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, which cannot be found in our regular Bible.

Wisdom has built her house with 7 pillars according to Proverbs 9:1. If curiosity has you hooked up, the next logical question would be, what are those 7 pillars?  There is so much debate on this topic, it's hard to say what's true and legitimate - shall share if I come across some reasonable explanation.



The above painting depicts Queen Sheba's visit to King Solomon.  Notice the 7 pillars in the painting.


Happy Vishu



Wish you a wonderful new year.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Baptizing twins

Tomorrow morning, I've been invited for a baptism at church. Baptisms always excite me, since it is one of those sacraments that involves the Holy Spirit. The central figure during the entire service is the Holy Spirit, and the main reading is:

After Jesus was baptized,  he came up from the water and behold,  the heavens were opened for him,  and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove  and coming upon him.  And a voice came from the heavens, saying,  “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

To be there when these little angels are receiving the Holy Spirit is a wonderful feeling.

Almost every-time I feel that the parents or god-parents need to be educated prior to the service.  Mostly, I've observed the god-parents being more focused on what they wear that day and their own appearance in photos, without actually paying any attention during the ceremony.  Then it becomes the job of a deacon to coach and train them 'on the job' in front of the audience. With little planning, this task can be more efficient and smooth.

At our end, we use a combination of lukewarm water and cold water during our service.  I consider the soft and tender skins of the infants and pay proper attention to the temperature.  Some kids cry out when water is poured upon them, while others enjoy it. I also try to maintain eye contact with those kids through out the service and provide them assurance in my own way - some kids respond and pay attention (even though I am a stranger) while others are busy with something.  Looking into those innocent eyes and communicating is a feeling of fulfillment - few perks of being a deacon!


Friday the 13th


Did anyone notice that today is Friday the 13th?


Here is another interesting fact.  This week is the 13th week of 2012.

Listen to this - the next 'Friday the 13th' falls on July 13th - exactly 13 weeks from now.


The joy of giving



Once upon a time, a greedy, rich man hired a great mathematician. The rich man wanted the mathematician to find the best way for him to make the greatest profit in everything he did. The rich man was building a huge safe, and his greatest dream was to fill it with gold and jewels.

The mathematician was shut away for months in his study, before finally believing he had found the solution. But he soon found there were some errors in his calculations, and he started all over again.

One night he appeared at the rich man's house, with a big smile on his face: "I found it!" he said, "My calculations are perfect." The rich man was going on a long journey the next day, and didn't have time to listen. He promised the mathematician he would pay him double his wages if he would take charge of the business while he was away, and put the new formulas into practice. Excited by his new discovery, the mathematician was delighted to accept.

When the rich man returned, months later, he found that all of his possessions had gone. Furious, he went to ask for an explanation from the mathematician. The mathematician calmly told him what he had done. He had given everything away to people. The rich man couldn't believe it, but the mathematician explained it further.

"For months I analysed how a rich man could gain the maximum benefit, but what I could do was always limited. There's a limit to how much one man can do by himself. Then I understood the key was that many people could help us to achieve the aim. So the conclusion was that helping others was the best way to get more and more people to benefit us."

Disappointed and furious, the greedy man stormed off, desperate at having lost everything to the hare-brained schemes of a madman. However, while he was walking away disconsolately, several neighbours ran over, worried about him. All of them had been helped when the mathematician shared out the rich man's fortune. They felt so grateful to him that they offered him the hospitality of their houses, and anything such a special man might need. The neighbours even argued over who would get to help him.

Over the next few days, he saw the full results of what the mathematician had calculated. Wherever he went he was received with great honour, and everyone was willing to help him in whatever way they could. He realised that his not having anything had given him much, much more.

In this way, he managed to quickly set up flourishing businesses, but this time he followed the brilliant mathematician's advice. No longer did he keep his riches in a safe, or anything like it. Instead, he shared out his fortune among a hundred friends, whose hearts he had converted into the safest, most grateful and fruitful of safes.

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The biggest joy is when we give - it could be our time, advice, knowledge or even a listening ear.  Jesus was preaching about giving, on several occasions.  Here is an article on giving by Deepak Chopra.



Credits: Pedro Sacristán

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oprah on Success

Will you follow?

This video illustrates the truth about Jesus through the dynamic lens of a 21st-century social network.
Spare 6 minutes of your time watching this video.


Now, will you follow?


Solomon's dream


A painting depicting Solomon's dream and receiving the great gift of wisdom


The man who had plenty



Once there was a family that was neither rich nor poor. They lived in a small country house. One night they all sat down for dinner, and there was a knock at the door. The father went to the door and opened it.

There stood an old man in tattered clothes, with ripped pants and missing buttons. He was carrying a basket full of vegetables. He asked the family if they wanted to buy some vegetables from him. They quickly did because they wanted him to leave.

Over time, the family and the old man became friends.

The man brought vegetables to the family every week. They soon found out that he was almost blind and had cataracts on his eyes. But he was so friendly that they learned to look forward to his visits and started to enjoy his company.

One day as he was delivering the vegetables, he said, "I had the greatest blessing yesterday! I found a basket of clothes outside my house that someone had left for me."

The family, knowing that he needed clothes, said, "How wonderful!"

The old blind man said, "The most wonderful part is that I found a family that really needed the clothes."

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Countdown: 
256 days till Christmas 
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Credits: Jerry Ullman

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tips for home




It is time to clean out the refrigerator when something opens the door from the inside.

Keep the refrigerator clean enough for healthy, dirty enough for happy.

Never make fried chicken in the nude.

Do not engage in unarmed combat with a dust bunny big enough to choke the vacuum cleaner.

You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.

If guys were suppose to hang clothes up, door knobs would be bigger.

The idea of a guy's housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

You should not weigh more than your refrigerator.

Cobwebs artfully draped over lampshades reduce the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere.

When writing your name in the dust on the table, omit the date.


Relatives



A couple was driving down a country road in a convertible for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier *discussion* had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, jack asses, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, "Relatives of yours?"

"Yep," the wife replied, "in-laws."

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Choosing to Love



During our day to day encounter with people - with our family members or that irritated person in the traffic, we have choices to make. We can either act according to their actions in the same coin, or try to be gentle and kind. Two thoughts come to our mind - we can either ignore the Holy Spirit and respond reflexively by being rude, or listen to our inner calling from the Holy Spirit and choose to be patient and kind.

When we choose the path according to the way of the Holy Spirit, we are exercising love, and we are creating our soul a fertile place for the Holy Spirit to take root. By following the Holy Spirit's path over a period of time, it becomes more natural to yield to the Spirit, and respond with love.

1 Corintians 13 is a place to visit, while talking about love. Few characteristics of love include:

Love is patient,
love is kind,
love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never ends.

Finally, it says in the chapter, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

By associating ourselves with others filled with Holy Spirit, we will be naturally influenced to follow the path of Love.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter bunny



A cute and precious little girl walked into a pet shop last Saturday (the day before Easter) and asked, “Excuthe me, thir, do you have any widdle bunny wabbits?”

The shopkeeper’s heart melted. He got down on his knee so that he was on her level, and said, “Do you want a widdle white wabbit or a thoft, fuffy bwack wabbit, or one like that widdle bwown wabbit over there?”

The little girl blushed, rocked on her heels, put her hands on her knees, leaned forward and replied, “I don’t weally fink my pyfon snake cares.”

God Provides


During our prayers, all of us, we ask for certain things we deem is right and required.  But our loving and the all-wise God grants us something what He thinks is just and right - not exactly what we think our 'wants' are.  Being our creator and our all-time guardian, He know the best and provides the rest. Yes, He provides - what we 'need.'

I asked God for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn to humbly obey.

I asked for help that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness so that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
I am among all men, most richly blessed.

Thank you God, for ALL the blessings you've ever provided and still provide.
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Countdown: 
258 days till Christmas 
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Silly names



While I was attending middle and high school, we used to have nicknames for our teachers - and the teachers knew about it as well. Recently we had our 25th anniversary and high school reunion, and many of us, we knew our teachers by those nicknames and had no clue about their official names to mail out invitations.

In the book, 'Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants', the evil Professor uses the Name Change-O-Chart 2000 to change everyone's normal names into silly names. I used this very chart at a project I was leading, and my name was Poopsie Gigglechunks - it fit well since I was always smiling and laugh a lot. That was just in the beginning until one team member pointed me to the Online Urban Dictionary where I learned other meanings too.

Figure out your's and you'll probably kill me this very instant by squeezing my throat if you could reach me.

Here is how it works:

Use the first letter of your first name to determine your NEW first name:
a = stinky
b = lumpy
c = buttercup
d = gidget
e = crusty
f = greasy
g = fluffy
h = cheeseball
i = chim-chim
j = poopsie
k = flunky
l = booger
m = pinky
n = zippy
o = goober
p = doofus
q = slimy
r = loopy
s = snotty
t = falafel
u = dorkey
v = squeezit
w = oprah
x = skipper
y = dinky
z = zsa-zsa

Use the first letter of your last name to determine the first half of your NEW last name:

a = diaper
b = toilet
c = giggle
d = bubble
e = girdle
f = barf
g = lizard
h = waffle
i = cootie
j = monkey
k = potty
l = liver
m = banana
n = rhino
o = burger
p = hamster
q = toad
r = gizzard
s = pizza
t = gerbil
u = chicken
v = pickle
w = chuckle
x =tofu
y = gorilla
z = stinker

Use the last letter of your last name to determine the second half of your NEW last name:

a = head
b = mouth
c = face
d = nose
e = tush
f = breath
g = pants
h = shorts
i = lips
j = honker
k = butt
l = brain
m = tushie
n = chunks
o = hiney
p = biscuits
q = toes
r = buns
s = fanny
t = sniffer
u = sprinkles
v = kisser
w = squirt
x =humperdinck
y = brains
z = juice

Ideas are welcome

Class,

One of the tasks in front of me is to write a speech on the topic, "The purpose of my life in a Christian perspective" for my son, for the upcoming talent competition.  I have a timeline to finish this activity so that he can make necessary corrections and practice it before Apr 22nd.

Given resources such as search engines and youtube videos, there is much online.  But all those will sound so unrealistic and plastic - I am looking for something real and practical.  What do you young guys think - I thought of asking ya'll since you guys make up the audience. Give me some pointers, so that I can build something around those.  Drop me a line if any thought pops up in your mind during the course of this week.

Here - I'll make it simpler:
How would you want to lead your life as a Christian, given decades of life ahead of you?

Beyond 666



Has your Sunday School Teacher taught you about 666 being the mark of the Beast?  Well, what you heard is just tip of the iceberg.  When you get to higher grades like ours, here is more to be aware of:


666 Mark of the Beast

668 Next-door neighbor of the Beast

DCLXVI Roman numeral of the Beast

666i BMW of the Beast

666 Flags Amusement park of the Beast

Motel 666 Beast Western

1-666-666-6666 Telephone number of the Beast

66666 Zip code of the Beast

666-66-6666 Social Security number of the Beast

IAM666 License plate of the Beast

1010011 Binary number of the Beast

665.99 Retail number of the Beast

644.65 Walmart number of the Beast

Rte 666 Highway of the Beast

666F Temperature of oven for roast Beast

666K Retirement plan of the Beast

666mg Recommended daily allowance of the Beast



Monkey Psychology




If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.

The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs. To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat him up.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment - with enthusiasm.

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs. Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.

Why, you ask? Because in their minds…that is the way it has always been!

This is how govt works - unfortunately our churches operate like this as well.  There are several things we do - because that's the way it's been done so long, and we are not supposed to question why. There is nothing written anywhere, and nobody in charge knows the reason either.

Funny when you think of it - isn't it?  

An Easter Story

Have you heard the story of Edith Burns?  Here is how it goes.

Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns.

One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns. When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her.

Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way: “Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?” Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved.

Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure Edith began by saying,

“My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?

Beverly said, “Why yes I do.”

Edith said, “Well, what do you believe about Easter?”

Beverly said, “Well, it’s all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up…” Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Phillips said, “Beverly, don’t call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room.

After being called back in the doctor’s office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, “Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?”

Dr. Phillips said gently, “Edith, I’m the doctor and you’re the patient.” With a heavy heart he said, “Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you’re not going to live very long.”

Edith said, “Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I’m going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!”

Dr. Phillips thought to himself, “What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!”

Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd.

On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up.

Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, “Will, I’m very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter.”

Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse.

Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a “religious nut”. She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.

One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick.

Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, “Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you.”

Phyllis Cross said, “Well, you can quit praying for me, it won’t work. I’m not interested.”

Edith said, “Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family.”

Phyllis Cross said, “Then you will never die because that will never happen, and curtly walked out of the room.

Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, “God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I’m praying for you.”

One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith’s room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, “I’m so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day”

Phyllis Cross said, “Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, “Do you believe in Easter but you have never asked me.”

Edith said, “Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked.” Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, “Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?”

Phyllis Cross said, “Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life

“Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.

Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, “Do you know what day it is?”

Phyllis Cross said, “Why Edith, it’s Good Friday.”

Edith said, “Oh, no, for you every day is Easter. Happy Easter Phyllis!”

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter.

When she walked into Edith’s room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible. There was a sweet smile on her face. When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edith’s hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14: “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, said, “Happy Easter, Edith – Happy Easter!”

Phyllis Cross left Edith’s body, walked out of the room, and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She said, “My name is Phyllis Cross… Do you believe in Easter?”

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Enjoying Spring

Today I did not travel anywhere - went to the library for couple of hours and came back home.

Just finished walking around enjoying the flowers. Here is what I can see from my window. Yes - spring has sprung.








Seeing Jesus


Just after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene - she was His best friend, she was the one who was seeking Him the most; she was the one who was concerned about Him more than His disciples, she was worried about where His body was laid to rest. She thought she won't see Him anymore.

Jesus knew how sad she was about His crucifixion, He knew how much His best friend wanted to see Him, and how much she cared for Him. Therefore, He went  near Mary Magdalene before meeting anyone else.

If we have a strong urge to meet Jesus, He will appear to us - He is our living God.


Friends


As we walk our path of life,
We meet people everyday.
Most are simply met by chance.
But, some are sent our way.

These become special friends
Whose bond we can't explain;
The ones who understand us
And share our joy and pain.

Their love contains no boundaries.
So, even we are apart.
Their presence enhances us
With a warmth felt in the heart.

This love becomes a passageway,
When even the miles disappear.
And so, these friends, God sends our way,
Remain forever near.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He has risen


He has Risen - just as He said. Happy Easter!

I tried walking with Jesus, and was chosen to speak about Him on the day He was crucified - you probably heard me! I could speak so much about my best friend - so much to talk about.  When it comes to Jesus, I can speak non-stop for days.

Thanks for joining.





He Lives in you

You are God's child and He loves you.

He lives in you - in your heart.

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