Saturday, May 25, 2013

A thief and his mother

A young Man had been caught in a daring act of theft and had been condemned to be executed for it. He expressed his desire to see his mother, and to speak with her before he was led to execution. Of course this last wish was granted.

When his mother came to him he said,  "I want to whisper to you," and when she brought her ear near him, he nearly bit it off.

All the bystanders were horrified, and asked him what he could mean by such brutal and inhuman conduct.

"It is to punish her," he said. "When I was young I began with stealing little things, and brought them home to mother. Instead of rebuking and punishing me, she laughed and used to say, "It will not be noticed." It is because of her that I am here today."

"He is right, woman," said the executioner; "The Lord has said, 'Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it'."


Words of wisdom

"When you believe you can, you can."
- Maxwell Maltz

"Treasure the love you receive above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health, have vanished."
- Og Mandino

"Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments."
- Rose Kennedy

"Where love is there is God also."
- Leo Tolstoy

"I discovered I always have a choice and sometimes it's only a choice of attitude."
- Judith M. Knowlton

"Consider each day as another day of life, a gift from God to be enjoyed as fully as possible."
- Orville Kelly

"Remember, happiness doesn't depend on who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think."
- Dale Carnegie

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."
- Helen Keller

"Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. It is not enough that a thing be possible for it to be believed."
- Voltaire

"You never know when you are making a memory."
- Rickie Lee Jones

Friday, May 24, 2013

The best friend

All of us, we need friends. Some like to have numerous friends surrounding them, while others are content with few they can count on. Regardless of the number, there is always someone who is closer to us than the rest. This is the one who would love us the most for who we are, the one who cares about us all the time, the one who listens to all our problems and provides guidance and finally shares our happiness. Quite naturally we expect this beloved friend to be perfectly honest with us, to tell us the truth even when it hurt, to point out our faults with kindness in order to help us improve. Further, we want this friend to be better than us, stronger and even wiser. Such a friend could teach and guide us. This friend could answer our questions, however complex or silly they appear to be. This friend would understand the challenges we face and spend time together answering them, without appearing to be busy. By being associated with this friend, we could transform more like the friend - better, stronger and wiser. If we come across such a person, we seldom want this friend to go away from our reach and it would be fantastic if this friend could be with us forever.

Jesus was such a fabulous friend to his disciples and when His time arrived, he said, "But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." Thus came the Holy Spirit to the midst of his beloved disciples, on the day of Pentecost.

Treat the Holy Spirit as your very best friend - the one whom we can trust completely, always available to meet our needs; far superior than any human friend we come across during our lifetime. The choice is our's  whether to accept this friend into our life or not. The best part is that the Holy Spirit is available 24/7, thus giving us company and comfort anytime anywhere. Often times we ask our best friend, "What should I do under this circumstance?" "What should I do next?" When the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we can pose these exact same questions to Him. The answers we receive from the Holy Spirit are superlative thus guiding us towards the best possible solution ever.

Beyond doubt, there are few life changes we ought to make in order to accommodate the Holy Spirit within our life by giving the Spirit room to live and grow. These changes include a dedicated life of prayer and walking in the way of truth everyday, without succumbing to worldly pleasures.

Next, the biggest step is handing over the control of our life to the Holy Spirit to lead us the way. This is one of the most difficult part to everyone. We are not used to doing so. We hardly let other humans, including our parents, to have complete control our life - thinking they do not know the 360 degree view of a particular scenario. The remarkable strength about the Holy Spirit is that He knows the past, present and the future from every possible angle. One such person who had faith and allowed the Holy Spirit to take control of her life was Mary, the mother of Jesus. She is a role model for all of us and hence we preserve her picture at home. When we look at her picture, it reminds us how a young girl had such tremendous faith in the Holy Spirit. Mary had to endure disgrace and suffering during her lifetime; but in the end, she emerged with the greatest honor among mankind. She was willing to give control of her life to the Holy Spirit.

A man is known by the company he keeps, and also by the company from which he is kept out. Those who keep the company of the Holy Spirit will exhibit the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These fruits are time proven and everyone acknowledges them. When we have Holy Spirit as our best friend, we will be able to discern right from wrong through His wisdom and guidance.

Make the Holy Spirit your best friend and in Him you will find an everlasting friend. If you still haven't accepted His 'friend request', consider adding Him to the top of your friend list.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Elephant and the blind men

Once in a village, there were six blind men who stood by the roadside every day, and begged from the people who passed by. They had often heard of elephants, but had never seen one. Being blind, how could they?

It so happened one morning that an elephant was passing by the road where they stood. When they were told that the great beast was before them, they asked the mahout to stop so that they might see him. Of course they could not see him with their eyes; but they thought that by touching the elephant they could learn just what kind of animal he was.

The first one happened to put his hand on the elephant's side. "Well, well!" he said, "now I know all about this beast. He is exactly like a wall."

The second felt only of the elephant's tusk. "My brother," he said, "you are mistaken. He is not at all like a wall. He is round and smooth and sharp. He is more like a spear than anything else."

The third happened to take hold of the elephant's trunk. "Both of you are wrong," he said. "Anybody who knows anything can see that this elephant is like a snake."

The fourth reached out his arms, and grasped one of the elephant's legs. "Oh, how blind you are!" he said. "It is very plain to me that he is round and tall like a tree."

The fifth was a very tall man, and he chanced to take hold of the elephant's ear. "The blindest man ought to know that this beast is not like any of the things that you name," he said. "He is exactly like a huge fan."

The sixth was very blind indeed, and it was some time before he could find the elephant at all. At last he seized the animal's tail. "O foolish fellows!" he cried. "You surely have lost your senses. This elephant is not like a wall, or a spear, or a snake, or a tree; neither is he like a fan. But any man with a particle of sense can see that he is exactly like a rope."

Then the elephant moved on, and the six blind men sat by the roadside all day, and quarreled about him. Each believed that he knew just how the animal looked; and each called the others hard names because they did not agree with him.

We, who have eyes, sometimes act just like these blind men. We, in our limited capacity and observation, think we know how something looks or even feels like. If you, who have vision, were standing next to these blind men while they were examining the elephant, you could have guided them saying,  "The spear is the tusk, the snake is the trunk, the trees are the legs," and so forth. You could have clarified each and everyone's doubts and settled any difference in opinions. Now, if you were compassionate and caring, you may have even asked the mahout to give these blind men a ride on the elephant :-)

It is only with the power of the Holy Spirit that we will be able to visualize the 'big picture' since our vision is limited and impaired. Hence the need to ask for wisdom and guidance from the creator, who has been around since the dawn of the universe.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Carry On!

It’s easy to fight when everything’s right,
And you’re mad with thrill and the glory;
It’s easy to cheer when victory’s near,
And wallow in fields that are gory.
It’s a different song when everything’s wrong,
When you’re feeling infernally mortal;
When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, little soldier, and chortle:

      Carry on! Carry on!
   There isn’t much punch in your blow.
You are glaring and staring and hitting out blind;
You are muddy and bloody, but never you mind.
      Carry on! Carry on!
   You haven’t the ghost of a show.
It’s looking like death, but while you’ve a breath,
       Carry on, my son! Carry on!

And so in the strife of the battle of life
It’s easy to fight when you’re winning;
It’s easy to slave, and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height
Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.
      Carry on! Carry on!
   Thing never were looming so black.
But show that you haven’t a cowardly streak,
And though you’re unlucky you never are weak.
      Carry on! Carry on!
   Brace up for another attack.
It’s looking like hell, but – you never tell.
      Carry on, old man! Carry on!

There are some who drift out in the desert of doubt
And some who in brutishness wallow;
There are others, I know, who in piety go
Because of a Heaven to follow.
But to labor with zest, and to give of your best,
For the sweetness and joy of the giving;
To help folks along with a hand and a song;
Why, there’s the real sunshine of living.

      Carry on! Carry on!
   Fight the good fight and true;
Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer;
There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here.
      Carry on! Carry on!
   Let the world be the better for you;
And at last when you die, let this be your cry!
      Carry on, my soul! Carry on!

Credits: Robert Service

The dead duck

A woman brought a very limp Mandarin duck into the veterinarian clinic. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”

The distressed woman wailed, “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet.

“How can you be so sure?” she protested. “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a Labrador. As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman..

The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$505.00!” she cried, “$505.00 just to tell me my duck is dead!”

The vet shrugged, “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $5.00. But with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s now $505.00″

These lab procedures!

Holy Spirit - Taking care

You have the Holy Spirit within you and you are anxious how to take good care of it, without hurting the Holy Spirit. In the Christian faith, God forgives all sins except for the one unpardonable sin: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This is serious stuff. While you have the greatest gift that you can have, there is always the danger of committing the most deadliest sin.

Here are those Bible passages:

Mark 3:28-30: "Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven all their sins and all the blasphemies they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin. He said this because they [the Pharisees] were saying, ‘He has an evil spirit’."

Matthew 12:30-32: "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy. But the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."

Luke 12:8-10: "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven."

'Blasphemy' means - to speak irreverently or profanely of or to the Holy Spirit.

The 'unpardonable sin' is one of the largest debate topic in Christianity and has numerous thoughts surrounding it. Many have different views and I've been reading a lot on this topic. Am still in the dark and still seeking for answers. The closest I came to is about the grief of Holy Spirit.

One of the places in Scripture where we read about grieving the Holy Spirit is in Ephesians 4:29–32. The apostle Paul writes:

"Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not grieve God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."

In my case, I certainly don't want to hurt the Holy Spirit by using any foul or abusive language. I can try to say good and helpful things to others. Getting rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander and malicious behavior - these sound not too easy.

As far as language is concerned, the safe ground for me is to:


THINK is an acronym:

T – Is it Truthful?
H – Is it Helpful?
I – Is it Inspiring?
N – Is it Necessary?
K – Is it Kind?

Before saying something, I need to perform a mental checklist of THINK. That should prevent me from hurting the Holy Spirit (for now till I learn more). To practice other things and to live in a manner pleasing to the Holy Spirit is worth a try. The positive things to look forward are those fruits of the Holy Spirit. Unlike any investment, or the growth of a tree, the fruits of the Holy Spirit begin to show up quite immediately.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The sermon to the brids

St. Francis was very kind and loving - kind and loving not only to men but to all living things. He spoke of the birds as his little brothers of the air, and he could never bear to see them harmed.

At Christmastime he scattered crumbs of bread under the trees, so that the tiny creatures  could feast and be happy.

Once when a boy gave him a pair of doves which he snared, St. Francis had a nest made for them, and the mother bird laid her eggs in it.

By and by, the eggs hatched, and a nestful of young doves grew up. They were so tame that they sat on the shoulders of St. Francis and ate from his hand.

And many other stories are told of this man's great love and pity for the timid creatures which lived in the fields and woods.

One day  as he was walking among the trees the birds saw him and flew down to greet him. They sang their sweetest  songs to show how how much  they loved him. Then, when they saw that he was about to speak, they nestled softly in the grass and listened.

"O little birds, " he said,  "I love you, for you are my brothers and sisters of the air. Let me tell you something, my little brothers, my little sisters: You ought always to love God and praise Him.

"For think what He has  given you. He has given  you wings with which to fly through  the air. He has given you clothing both warm and beautiful. He has given you the air in which to move and have homes.

"And think of this, O little brothers: you sow not, neither do you reap, for God feeds you. He gives you the rivers and the brooks from which to drink. He gives you the mountains and the valleys where you may rest. He  gives you the trees in which to build your nests.

"You toil not, neither do you spin, yet God takes care of you and your little ones. It must be, then, that He loves you. So, do not be ungrateful, but sing His praises and thank Him for his goodness toward you."

Then the saint stopped speaking and looked around  him. All the birds sprang up joyfully. They spread their wings and opened their mouths to show that they understood his words.

And when he had blessed them, all began to sing; and the whole forest was filled with sweetness and joy because of their wonderful melodies.


Two Travellers

Once upon a time Truth and Falsehood met each other on the road.

"Good afternoon,” said Truth.

“Good afternoon,” returned Falsehood. “And how are you doing these days?”

“Not very well at all, I’m afraid,” sighed Truth. “The times are tough for a fellow like me, you know.”

“Yes, I can see that,” said Falsehood, glancing up and down at Truth’s ragged clothes. “You look like you haven’t had a bite to eat in quite some time.”

“To be honest, I haven’t,” admitted Truth. “No one seems to want to employ me nowadays. Wherever I go, most people ignore me or mock me. It’s getting discouraging, I can tell you. I’m beginning to ask myself why I put up with it.”

“And why the devil do you? Come with me, and I’ll show you how to get along. There’s no reason in the world why you can’t stuff yourself with as much as want to eat, like me, and dress in the finest clothes, like me. But you must promise not to say a word against me while we’re together.”

So Truth promised and agreed to go along with Falsehood for a while, not because he liked his company so much, but because he was so hungry he thought he’d faint soon if he didn't get something into his stomach. They walked down the road until they came to a city, and Falsehood at once led the way to the very best table at the very best restaurant.

“Waiter, bring us your choicest meats, your sweetest sweets, your finest wine!” he called, and they ate and drank all afternoon. At last, when they could hold no more, Falsehood began banging his fist on the table and calling for the manager, who came running at once.

“What the devil kind of place is this?” Falsehood snapped. “I gave that waiter a gold coin nearly an hour ago, and he still hasn't brought our change.”

The manager summoned the waiter, who said he’d never even seen a penny out of the gentleman.

“What?” Falsehood shouted, so that everyone in the place turned and looked. “I can’t believe this place! Innocent, law-abiding citizens come in to eat, and you rob them of their hard-earned money! You’re a pack of thieves and liars! You may have fooled me once, but you’ll never see me again! Here!” He threw a gold coin at the manager. “Now this time bring me my change!”

But the manager, fearing his restaurant’s reputation would suffer, refused to take the gold coin, and instead brought Falsehood change for the first gold coin that he claimed to have spent. Then he took the waiter aside and called him a scoundrel, and said he had a mind to fire him. And as much as the waiter protested that he’d never collected a cent from the man, the manager refused to believe him.

“Oh Truth, where have you hidden yourself?” the waiter sighed. “Have you now deserted even us hard-working souls?”

“No, I’m here,” Truth groaned to himself, “but my judgment gave way to my hunger, and now I can’t speak up without breaking my promise to Falsehood.”

As soon as they were on the street, Falsehood gave a hearty laugh and slapped Truth on the back. “You see how the world works?” he cried. “I managed it all quite well, don’t you think?”

But Truth slipped from his side.

“I’d rather starve than live as you do,” he said.

And so Truth and Falsehood went their separate ways, and never traveled together again.


God's Temple

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple? God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. God’s temple is holy. And you are that temple.
~ 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Men tend to look all over the world to seek God and do not find Him anywhere. If the search continues, ultimately man will find God within himself. These two Biblical passages (above) do not need any further explanation - they are pretty simple. Many cannot accept this fact and would like to see God stay at either temple or church. The reason is because they are afraid of bringing God or Holy Spirit into their bodies and carrying Him around. In that circumstance, it is better to keep God  or Holy Spirit at a safe place so that we can visit Him once a week on Sundays.

For those who seek Him earnestly, He dwells within us - that's what the Bible says.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Preserving the Holy Spirit

Our parents want us to have a good education and are willing to do whatever they can. They will entrust us with their assets once we are well behaved and reach a certain age. Similarly, God, our Father, strongly urges us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will grant the Holy Spirit only to those whom prove to be responsible and trustworthy children - just like our parents.

It's very easy to meet someone new and form a new friendship. The hardest challenge is to maintain it - especially if you are interested in forging a long lasting relationship. So is the story with the Holy Spirit. Lets assume we received the Holy Spirit. The next biggest challenge is to maintain the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. How do we do that?

First of all, If you have the will to live a life full of the Holy Spirit, God will allow it. He will help and bless you. But if you do not want it, nobody can help.

For those interested to live a life filled with Holy Spirit, we must live and walk by the will of God even in difficult situations. This is what it means to live a righteous life.

Here is what the scripture has to say about maintaining our life with Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:6-20

6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light
9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)
10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
 rise from the dead,
 and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the (Holy) Spirit,
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The scripture pretty much sums it up. Those who are interested in learning how will find this passage quite meaningful.

The way I look at this is, since the Holy Spirit is represented by a white dove, how can I make room for this dove to live within me? I need to make room for a nest that's free of noise and threats. Later, I have to provide proper nourishment for this dove from time to time. Further, I need to communicate with this dove as frequently as possible and do not make it feel lonely. In my own observation, there are two simple things we can do to maintain the glow.

Now, maintaining that glow does not mean just appearing to be smiley & happy - any good actor can do that. I am talking about that internal glow which emits and radiates outwardly. When you glow, you will become God's reflection and in you people will see the goodness of God.

1. Preserve our body as the holy temple. To me, our bodies are more important than the temple or church built with stones and mortar. This means we should maintain and cleanse the body with utmost purity - watching out what goes in and out of the body. Cleanse the body externally and internally. Make room for the Holy Spirit to dwell within us by removing all impurities. But how? Have the will to cleanse our body and God will help us do it - all we need to do is have that desire and faith. Remember we are supposed to produce those 9 fruits upon receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit - 1. Love, 2. Joy, 3. Peace, 4. Patience, 5. Kindness, 6. Generosity, 7. Faithfulness, 8. Gentleness, 9. Self-control.

2. Have constant contact with God through prayers. Enjoy walking with God just like how you would with a loving father, holding His strong hands. He knows our strengths and weakness and he will give us the energy to overcome our day to day challenges. There is not a single challenge that God does not understand and has not known - He knows it all and if we are willing to fight it, he will be on our side.

Preserve the Holy Spirit within you forever and radiate that glow. May those around you and with you, receive and enjoy the fruits you produce.

Does anyone have any suggestion or experience with the Holy Spirit? I would love to hear those.


Car Wash