Saturday, January 19, 2013

And if not

During World War II, as Hitler’s armies raced across France, thousands of Allied troops dug in along the coast of northern France in a last-ditch effort to hold off the German forces. Trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, they knew they would soon face an annihilating attack by the Nazis. As the battle drew closer and rescue seemed impossible, the British troops sent a radio message across the English Channel in just three words: “And if not.” Some thought it was a coded transmission.

Actually it’s great significance comes from the Bible. In chapter 3 of Daniel, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had three Israeli captives (Hanaiah, Azariah, Mishael) condemned to die in a furnace. Their fate was sealed. They proclaimed faith in their God to deliver them from this certain death. But they added “And if not” we are willing to die.

This message of a fervent faith that they would be rescued from Dunkirk’s beaches, but of a resignation to die if need be in the fight to keep England free – was then told across Great Britain. Small boats and ships from around that island nation began a heroic effort to cross the English channel and rescue these men of valor and faith. They succeeded.

Today, do any of us have similar sort of dedication and faith that, when faced with great trials or even death, would say . . “And if not”.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Time Flies

Few musings

1 Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel" that directs the right path throughout.

2 A car's front windshield is larger compared to the rear one, because our past is not as important as our future. Look ahead and move on.

3 Friendship & relationships are like a book. It takes few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.

4 All things in life are temporary. If going well enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong don't worry, they can't last long either.

5 Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don't forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!

6 Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, "Relax, sweetheart, it's just a bend, not the end!

7 When God solves your problems, you have faith in His abilities; when God doesn't solve your problems He has faith in your abilities.

8 When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

9 Worrying does not take away tomorrows' troubles, it takes away today’s' peace.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fruit of wisdom

Once Emperor Akbar's court was in session when a messenger arrived from the neighboring country with a message for the Emperor. The message was as puzzling as it was it simple.

"To Emperor Akbar,

We have been informed that your court is a treasure trove of wisdom. As your neighbor we would like you to share your wisdom with us. Please send one Fruit of Wisdom to us, so that we can grow our own from the sample.

Inability to send us a Fruit of Wisdom from your side will be regarded as an act of hostility and will be reciprocated in kind from our side."

"Fruit of Wisdom?", the Emperor was perplexed, "Who starts these rumors?"

Nobody had an answer to that. It was learnt later that the neighboring king had heard the legend of Birbal's wit and had concocted this plan in his jealousy to show up Birbal or find an excuse to attack Akbar's kingdom.

After a period of idle speculation and fruitless discussion, all eyes finally turned to Birbal who was sitting silently.

"Birbal", Akbar asked, "You are the only one who has not offered any comments on this situation. Do you have an answer to give to this messenger?"

Birbal said, "Yes, Your Majesty.", he turned to the messenger, "Tell your king that we are all out of Fruits of Wisdom at the moment and it will take 6 weeks to grow a fresh one. Once the Fruit is ready, you can come and collect it. In 6 weeks' time."

The messenger departed without further comment and as soon as he was out of earshot, Akbar could contain his puzzlement no longer.

"Birbal, have you gone mad? Grow what? In 6 weeks? There is NO such thing as a Fruit of Wisdom. Why did you tell him 6 weeks. What will we give him when the messenger comes back in 6 weeks?"

Birbal smiled his knowing smile that used to drive the Empror insane because he could not guess what he was thinking, "Your Majesty, please leave this small matter in my hands. When the messenger returns in 6 weeks he will be given the Fruit of Wisdom and rest assured that it will satisfy our neighbour king."

Next morning, Birbal sowed some seeds of pumpkin in his garden at home. He kept a careful eye on their progress every day. When the Emperor asked him in court about the matter of the Fruit, he would reply complacently, "The Fruit is being grown, Your Majesty!"

When the pumpkins were 2 weeks old, Birbal covered 2 of them with earthen pitchers and made supports for them so that they would still get sunlight while growing completely inside the pitchers.

When the pumpkins grew large enough that they filled the earthen pitchers completely without breaking them, Birbal plucked them off.

Two days later the messenger arrived as expected. When he walked into the Emperor's court and demanded delivery of the Fruit of Wisdom, Birbal stood up and handed him the earthen pitchers filled with the fully grown pumpkins.

He addressed the messenger, "In view of our cordial relations with your kingdom we have prepared two Fruits of Wisdom instead of one to be delivered to your king. But please tell the king that special care must be taken when extracting the Fruits. If you cut the Fruit with a knife or break the special container, the Fruit will be entirely spoiled."

The messenger looked at Birbal's face, then looked at the Fruits of Wisdom and retreated in silence.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Failure leads to success

Success is a poor teacher. There are many lessons in life which only failure can teach us. For us to grow in wisdom and to mature, we need to fail. Failure is similar to a hot cup of tea - too hot to touch, but not too hot to drink. For us to understand what failure is, we need to taste that cup.

Today's world glorifies and considers an individual successful, based on his/her popularity, inspiration, political power, friends' circle, wealth and professional accolades. By our current world standards on success, Jesus was a total failure.

Was Jesus popular?
Not really! In fact, after one of His teaching sessions to a large crowd of followers, all except 12 deserted Him.

Did the teachings of Jesus inspire the crowd?
Not always! He was rejected in His hometown of Nazareth, for teaching the book of Isaiah. The crowd became so furious they drove Him out of the town and even wanted to throw Him off the cliff.

Did Jesus have lots of friends?
Not many! He was not quite popular in social circles since He was often seen hanging out with 'sinners'. His so called friends often hurt Him, abandoned Him and befriended Him. One even betrayed Him to death.

Did Jesus have wealth?
No! He was born into a stable, and his earthly father Joseph, was a middle-class carpenter. Jesus is believed to have abandoned his possessions and towards the end, all he had was his robe.

Did Jesus have political power?
Not at all! He was a political anticlimax. The government at first rejected him and then conspired to kill him. The kingdom Jesus was talking about, was not of this world. Once when Jesus perceived that few people were going to try and make Him a King, He hid from them on a mountain.

Did the colleagues of Jesus respect Him?
No way! His professional peers, the pharisees, criticized him and rejected His work.

Few centuries later, Napoleon Bonaparte quoted,  I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of people would die for Him.

Thinking about it, how ironic it is that failures lead us to success. When we taste failure we learn from it; when we learn from it we understand it; when we understand it we change it; when we change it we profit from it. When we profit from it we grasp it.

The wonderful thing for us to learn is to always walk in confidence. We need to remind ourselves that we are loved by God even when we fail - since we are His children.

Extras and Credits:
Business Insider - 26 people who failed at first
Amitabh Singh's Blog
Failure To Success Stories