Saturday, July 26, 2014

I wish you enough

Bob Perks writes about the final goodbye between a mother and her son. 

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter were in their last moments together at the airport as the son's departure has been announced. 

Standing near the security gate, They hugged and the mother said, "I love you and I wish you enough."

The young man replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom." They kissed and the son left.

The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?"

"Yes, I have," I replied. 

"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?" I asked.

"I am old and he lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, his next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.

I looked at her intently and asked, "When you were saying good-bye I heard you say, "I wish you enough." May I ask what that means?"

She smiled a litte and replied, "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to each other." She paused for a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. When we said 'I wish you enough,' we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain him or them." Then, turning toward me, she shared the following reciting it from memory,

"I wish you enough sun... to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain... to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness... to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain... so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain... to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss... to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos... to get you through the final good-bye."

She then began to cry then turned and walked away.

My friend, on this journey, "I WISH YOU ENOUGH..."

This particular story brought back memories of me saying that final goodbye to my Dad. Fortunately, I had the privilege of expressing my love and appreciation for all those wonderful things my Dad had done for me in my life. I knew of the excruciating pain he was experiencing those days. While I was saying that final goodbye, I recognized that his days were limited. I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me, and what great thing he did for me during his lifetime. Further, I wrote him a long email, which I was told he read over and over. Saying that final goodbye to anyone (especially beloved ones) is not an easy task.

Isn't that last part of the video so true? 

Friday, July 25, 2014

A life altering question

Flight journey can sometimes be life altering. Once in a while we get to meet an interesting character and strike a conversation that turns out to be life altering. Stan Toler documents such an incident in his book, "God Has Never Failed Me, but He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times."

Missionary Milton Cunningham was flying on a plane from Atlanta to Dallas. He happened to have the middle of the three seats on one side of the aisle. To his right, sitting next to the window, was a young girl who had Down’s syndrome. She began asking him very-simple-but-almost-offensive questions.

“Mister, did you brush your teeth this morning? That’s what you’re supposed to do!”

He smiled and answered, “Yes”.

“Mister, do you smoke? You’d better not, because it can make you die!”

He said, “You’re correct. You are one smart girl.”

“Mister, do you know Jesus? We should all love Jesus!”

Just before take off, another man took the seat on the aisle. As he began to read the in-flight magazine, the little girl nudged Cunningham. “Mister, ask HIM those questions!”

Oh, sure. He was really uneasy with that one. He finally told her he didn’t want to do it. But she kept poking him and saying, “Do it. Do it!”

Finally Cunningham turned to the man seated next to him and said apologetically, “Sir, I don’t mean to bother you, but my little friend here wants to know if you have brushed your teeth today and whether or not you smoke!” The man looked startled, but he smiled at the girl and took her questions in stride.

As the plane lifted off, the girl nudged Cunningham once again and said “You forgot to ask him if he knows Jesus! Ask him. Ask him!” So he interrupted the man once again. “Now she wants to know if you know Jesus.”

The man could have responded like he had to the two previous questions–with a smile on his face and a chuckle in his voice. And he almost did. But then the smile disappeared, and his expression became serious. “You know, in all honesty, I can’t say that I do know Jesus. It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that I don’t know HOW to know Him. I’ve wanted to become a person of faith all my life, but I haven’t known how to do it. And right now I’m at a time in my life where I really do need faith very much.”

As the plane soared through the skies between Atlanta and Dallas, Milton Cunningham listened to the fellow talk about the brokenness in his life and shared his own personal testimony. He explained how to become “a person of faith” as he sweetly presented the Gospel message. All the while the girl sat there nodding and smiling from ear to ear.

She leaned over to the other man and said, “Mister, you should do it. Do it!” The man responded and was wonderfully transformed as a Christian.

Yes, God used the little girl with a brave heart to prod Cunningham to ask the fundamental question that ALL of us should be busy finding ways to communicate everywhere and anywhere: “Do you know Jesus?”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Leave that door open

Has it ever occurred to your that there exists an imaginary doorway between people? We have the power to turn the knob on that door and open it - to reach out to the person on the other end, and let them into our lives. When we feel like opening that door, certain people come to our mind. They could be our loved ones, our friends, family etc. In such instances, we either go see them, call them, talk to them or write to them the old fashioned way. Speaking of old fashioned way, writing letters has become an extinct art these days. Hardly anyone takes the pain to go through all those laborious steps. Email, fb and twitter are the new norms.

So this door - which we have the power to open will be opened to let only certain people into our lives. They are the ones whom we maintain contact with, whom we love, whom we are curious about, and even those whom we admire. Others, though we know about their existence, we hardly care about reaching into their lives or finding more about them.

Jesus Christ can be on the list too. At certain times, when we are desperate in need of something, we open that door wide open, look for Jesus all over and hope He will come for our rescue. Once His job is finished, we may think of conveniently getting rid of Him so that we can enjoy time with our chosen ones. The tendency is to keep Him in the vicinity, if in case we may need Him again.

A wise person would leave that door open for Jesus all the time, as Jesus can be a fantastic companion and partner. Those who treat Him as their best friend will vouch this - they do not need anyone or anything else in this universe apart from Him, as He fills all those voids in our lives. There are 10,000 reasons to keep Him on our side.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heaven's enemy

Heaven, the Abode of God has taken at least couple of different forms. One was the Heaven we read in Genesis - that place where God was surrounded by ALL those angels which He created. Now, the subject of Angels is a fascinating one; one that is rarely spoken in Christian circles - thereby leaving us with a gaping void about these heavenly creatures.

The other heaven is where God resides now. The future heaven will be when He comes and lives with us.

Most of us do not know this, but we are not supposed to worship Angels. Just like humans, angels worship and serve God (Isaiah 6:2-3; Revelation 22:8-9). In ancient times, angels were able to take on the form of humans as they delivered messages for Him

Angels were mostly created on the first day. Job 38:1-7 indicate that angels were present as eyewitnesses during the creation of our Universe.

All these angels are believed to be present in the Garden of Eden even after Adam and Eve were created. Bible speaks of those angels. God designated Lucifer as the "Angel of Worship." He was assigned to dwell in the awesome presence of a perfect and holy God. To fulfill this task, Lucifer had to be perfect too, and he was one step above the rest of the angels, both in appearance and wisdom - He was an Archangel.

Ezekiel 28:13-15 You were in Eden,
    the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
    carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
    topaz, onyx and jasper,
    lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
    on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
    for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
    you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
    from the day you were created
    till wickedness was found in you.

Due to pride, Lucifer sought prominence, and wanted to be worshiped just like God. However, God did not like this idea and therefore stripped him of his beauty, position and rights to heaven. Recall that Satan was desperate and asked Jesus to worship him.
Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”
Then one day, Archangel Lucifer was thrown out of the heaven. In an effort to weaken God's powers, he did his best to take as many angels with him to form a coalition against God. He wanted all those angels to worship him. Hundreds, or even thousands of angels were confused - without having the slightest idea of whether to stick around with God, or to follow the ousted Lucifer. Majority of them, due to the fear of Lucifer hurting them left God's presence. All those who left are termed demons.

Lucifer hated three things - God, God's creatures and God's abode - heaven. After being expelled by heaven, his next aim was to turn God's creation against him. That's when he took the form of a serpent and arrived near Eve. He succeeded in his mission. The human race had fallen. Lucifer introduced sin and even death into the world. He did not stop there - rather he started spreading the lie about heaven to those fallen people and has succeeded quite a bit on that level as well. Being the prince of deception, he does his best in  robbing the joy of heaven from the minds of ordinary people. He prevents us from seeing God's heaven, and works hard towards getting it off our spiritual radar. The chief lie he promotes among us is that, "there is no life beyond earth - death is the end. Hence love those things of this life and party as much as you can, while on earth."

One would think Lucifer - aka Satan, would be called a a prince of darkness. However in the Bible, he is called as and angel of light.
2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Listen to this carefully - Satan tries to put on a nice, harmless disguise and appears as the one standing up for good (rather than evil). He tried to be that "Mr. Nice Guy" by offering to feed Jesus while he was hungry in the desert.

The very same Satan is capable of appearing in front of us, disguised as God, or even Jesus. Isn't that a spine chilling, hair raising thought? How would we be able to identify Satan at that instant, as we could hardly tell the real Jesus from real Satan. I've been meditating on this question for several weeks now, and think I have the answer.

When God created everything, including those angels, Lady Wisdom was God's companion, standing beside our Lord.
Proverbs 3:19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;
Proverbs 8:22 "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;
Only with the help of wisdom, we can tell the difference between Lucifer and Jesus. Jesus was filled with wisdom and hence could tell that he was not being offered food, rather was being tempted and tested by Satan.

A word of caution - we are not strong enough to resist or withstand Satan. Never be deceived into believing that we can out-think, out-wit, out-subtle, or spiritually overcome Satan by ourselves. His powers and "wisdom" will put us to shame. Jesus Christ is the only one who has defeated Satan, and Jesus will come to our rescue when we ask him at times of need. Lady Wisdom will enable us to see that we are facing our diabolic enemy, when we truly are.

Get wisdom, get understanding - let your eyes be opened, and may you be able to see God's "Road-map for Heaven."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Heavenly Kiss

You flew to me from beyond the clouds
Sent to soothe my troubled heart
I felt the warmth of your kiss on my forehead 
In that moment my sadness blew away

Sent to soothe my troubled heart
You looked deep within my very soul
In that moment my sadness blew away
With your help I escaped the gray

You looked deep within my very soul
A breath of light into the darkness
With your help I escaped the gray
Your angel eyes looked into mine

A breath of light into the darkness
So much comfort yet no words spoken
Your angel eyes looked into mine
For me a glimpse of heaven's glory

So much comfort yet no words spoken
I felt the warmth of your kiss on my forehead
For me a glimpse of heaven's glory
You flew to me from beyond the clouds

Image Credits: Esstera

Monday, July 21, 2014

Action in truth

Yesterday we read the story of the teacher who was drowned due to lack of faith. That was a classic example of mere words without deeds. In our day to day life, we meet numerous people whose speech is so sweet, which make us happy, but their deeds show exact opposite, which disappoint us. If we see this happening in our leaders especially religious leaders, it is heart-breaking.
1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
John suggests we should not be showing love to each other by mere words or speech - which is nothing but lip service. He wants us to do action - which could be performed either to do a show off, or with a sincere heart. He demands we perform the action of love in truth.

The author is the same John who wrote the gospel. When John wrote this book, he was quite old. He had seen it all, and was probably the last disciple alive. He is the one who speaks so much about love. Having tasted the love of God, he addresses us as 'Children of God'.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 
Note that word of caution - the entire world is under the control of the evil one. As Christians, we should be aware of this everyday. In chapter 3 he tells us that we will see Jesus Christ when he appears and we shall be like him. We will see him with all that glory - the King of Kings.
1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 
One tip John gives us is not to love anything in the world. He does not say anybody; instead, we are told not to love anything that belongs to this world, because none of that craving is from the Lord, but from the evil one. He also gives us a tip for that everlasting life.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Faith vs Doubt

James 1:5-6 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudging, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 
Once upon a time a teacher along with his disciples lived in a hermitage. One day, one of the disciples had to go to the marketplace by crossing a small stream. There were stepping stones in this stream and one has to walk carefully in order to cross safely. As he started his journey, not too far into it, rain came pouring down heavily. He returned to his teacher and reported the problem. The teacher said, "You should have faith in God, as He will save you from all your problems."

The disciple obeyed his master and and resumed his journey. He kept reciting the name of God and while stepping on each stone, cleared all his hurdles and reached his destination safely.

After couple of days, the teacher himself had to go on the same route. When he reached the stream, he doubted whether or not God would save him. In his doubt, the teacher got drowned.

Moral: Faith saves us and doubt drowns us.