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November 23rd, 2013

5 Tips For The Race Of Life

5 Tips for the race of life

All of us are called to run a race. For some, it may be a lengthy one while for some others, it may not be so long.

We are not called to stand still. It may appear sometimes that standing still is the best option. Nevertheless it has a negative side also. Too much of ‘standing still’ can lead to too much more of ‘standing still’!

God’s original plan for each of us is to be ‘a mover and a shaker’. In other words, God wants us to keep ourselves engaged in the act of moving and doing. In spite of one’s failures and weaknesses, moving forward is the divine command that’s already been given. Look at Adam, the first man in the Bible. He was put in a lavishly wonderful garden, not to live lazily (“eat and sleep for tomorrow I die”!), but to work promptly.

Work isn’t a curse. It was ordained before any curse came on earth. Work is obedience to God because it was commanded by God Himself. It’s not wise to complain about your work because you are not there by accident but by divine appointment. You may like to see a change in your work. However God wants the work to change you – to change you into someone better, stronger and wiser.

It’s not enough to be satisfied with your work. You are given that work to bring improvement to your life and life skills. Being satisfied shouldn’t be connected to being comfortable. Even while being stretched, you can enjoy work.

Here are five ways to get back on track if you sense you have missed it.

1. Know Your Purpose

Jesus said in John 12:27 (ESV) “…for this purpose I have come…”. Here are three questions you must ask yourself to know your purpose.

a) What am I here for?
b) What are my goals?
c) What has my past taught me?

Answering these will give clarity to understanding your purpose in life.

2. Know Your Passion

Everyone has different passions. One may be interested to run a business. Another may be interested to be a missionary. Going for Scriptural examples, Joshua’s passion was different from that of David. Nehemiah was passionate to build while Elijah was passionate to prophecy.

What’s your passion? Find it to get back on track.

3. Know Your Potential

God has given each one of us great potential. We are accountable to Him for what He has given us (Matthew 25:14-30). It is said that only around 5% of people are interested in finding and developing their potential. Are you one among them?

Find out what you are good at. Find out how much you can grow in it.

4. Know Your Place

All of us are not called to function at the same place. A doctor has a different part to play compared to an engineer. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers have their own parts to do in the church (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Find out what’s your role on this earth.

5. Know Your Package

You are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). So you have a unique individuality and creativity.

Apostle Paul didn’t preach or write like apostle Peter. You have got something special to give to this world. You are different. Your product is different. Even when you do a job similar to others, you can mix it with your unique styles and tastes and offer it as a unique work. Bring out your unique and distinct package.

It is never too late to get back on track. Whatever has happened, now is the right and the best moment to get back on track if you are ‘standing still’. Jesus has promised to be with you all through the journey. So get back on track and enjoy the race!

- – - written by Joe Abraham from www.joeandancy.com


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February 24th, 2013

Choose Only God, Not His Works

Choose Only God Not His works

Cardinal Van Thuvan was in jail for 13 years. The Vietnam Government had imprisoned him without proper trial. It was only 7 years since he was a bishop. He had a lot of dreams and plans for the Diocese. But in 1976 he was imprisoned. For 9 years he was put in isolation in a room without windows unaware of the day or night passing by. The incessant heat and dire loneliness agonized him.

Beyond them he was deeply deprived about the painful situation of the diocese and the people….oh! A shepherd less herd! He was disturbed about how the seminarians, schools and other institutions were working in his absence. Pondering over all these took away hid hunger and sleep. He feared that he might become insane.

One day he heard a gentle voice from the depth of his heart “why do you persecute yourself”? Understand the difference between God and Godly deeds. All the works you have done and going to do are worthwhile before God. They are indeed godly deeds. But they are not God. If God asks you to forsake such activities you must do it and believe in the providence of God. God could do better than you. You have chosen only God not His works.

These thoughts changed the attitude and mind setup of Cardinal Van Thuvan. Excessive attachment towards our duties and responsibilities can make it an idol. When our duties and responsibilities become an intoxicant it may be reprieved of the joyfulness of God.

If we are not able to discern between God and godly deeds even our spiritual life could shrivel up. When we think that nothing would work without me that becomes pride. God can work through anyone to get His works done by His grace. None is inevitable to do His work.

It can happen in our family, ministry, society and everywhere .When we are not ready to share anything, when we feel that we are inevitable factor we are forgetting God. So, it is time to choose God again. If you want God’s will to be fulfilled in your life you may have to forget your plans and positions. As Mary who even gave her virginity for God’s will our prime aim should be thy will. When Mary obeyed God she became the mother of whole nation.

Prayer: Oh! God give us the grace to discern between You and Your activities. Save us from the character of loving Your works than You. Bless us to choose You as the prime factor in our life. In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

- – - written by Benny Punnathara


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January 13th, 2013

God Never Wants Us To Slog

God Never Wants Us To Slog

Is it really true? We always think that God wants us to work hard. But I do disagree. It is not. God’s ways are always cool. He never wants us to slog.

We never see a bird slogging from morning till evening, getting anxious searching for its food. We never see a plant struggling hard to bear a fruit. We never see rain straining hard to downpour. We never see any animals getting worried about its future and planning so deeply to secure its life. We never see the celestial bodies striving hard to shed light. If we look at the nature we can see that except the human beings, all creation of God exist peacefully and silently to glorify the Lord of creations. They are never restless and in a hurry to achieve something. They do what they are created for. “The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; Israel does not know, my people do not understand” (Isaiah 1:3).

The other day I was talking to my teenage niece. She was quite anxious and worried about her forthcoming exams and about her future in cracking entrance exams and all. I told her “you just don’t worry about the results; just finish what you have to study today…forget the rest”. But she was not happy with my suggestion. She started saying “aunty you can tell like that. You don’t know what all are the trials I face in school and in my classes. Even if I don’t aspire for clearing engineering entrance exam, my friends are not going to spare me. If I don’t get good marks they will treat me like dirt as if I don’t know anything. More than getting an admission it’s a question of acceptance in the class.”

I have plans for your welfare

I would like to share one incidence of a person whom I know. She is the elder child of a family of very devout and pious parents. Ever since childhood she wanted to become a doctor though her parents were not very keen about it because of two reasons. The first reason is that she was not a brilliant child and the second reason is that it was one of the toughest to get admission even for the very brilliant students. However they did not discourage her.

But her mother continuously prayed for her attending all night vigils. She never prayed that her child should get admission for a medical entrance, but prayed to safeguard her from all illness so that she can perform well in her exams. Though she had joined for a coaching class for medical entrance, they left the course half way due to some internal matters. So she was not even attending any coaching classes which are a sure sign for not getting admission for a medical college as per the prevailing notion. However she was doing her self study quietly without compromising her Sunday Mass.

Anyway quite contrary to her mother’s prayers she developed fever just a month before her board exams which led to some complications. With great difficulty she could finish her board exam. Her fever was troubling her intermittently. Then came the turn of entrance exams. In the middle of her exam all the family members contracted chicken pox. Her parents were anxious and wondered why God is testing so much. However they kept on praying Psalm 23 putting their complete trust in the One who keeps promises.

To every body’s amazement the girl scored 92 % board result which is the second highest in her class which she never got in any of her classes since LKG to 12th. Moreover she cleared the entrance exam of a prestigious medical college.

Beaming with the trust and confidence in the Word of God, her mother says, ‘God wanted my daughter to become a doctor. Though He tested my faith at the time of her exams making her sick, He literally walked with us through the valley tears. The verse of Jeremiah that “I have plans not for your destruction but for your welfare” literally fulfilled in our lives.’ He can produce water from rock, He can divide oceans to make way for you, He can multiply 5 loves to feed thousands, He can feed you from skies, if He wants. He will do it for us when we surrender completely, when we put our complete trust in Him.

It is not by slogging 24×7, even forgetting to eat, drink and worship the Lord of the Universe, that we will be able to crack the toughest entrance exams. But by abiding the commandments of God, He goes ahead of us to set path and give us victory. Let the goal of our life be to fulfill the Will of God. It is always far better than what we can ever imagine. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11).

He never told us to slog. If it was needed, He would not have told us the verse.”Work must be done for six days, but the seventh must be a holy day for you, a day of complete rest, in honour of Yahweh.” (Exodus 35:2). His ways are always cool. He wants us to rest and be with Him. He tells “Set your hearts on His kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well” (Mat 6:33). Jesus tells if you are connected to the wine you will produce many fruits. If not, even if you work unceasingly, you may not be able to crack any exam.

I told my niece “so my child get up and just do what you have to do today and surrender all your dreams and goals of life in the powerful hands of the Lord at whose command the whole Universe dances. Relax all Sundays; spend time with the Lord of the Universe. It revitalizes your spiritual, emotional and mental faculties. Work all other days cheerfully and enthusiastically. The success will be yours.” Yes, God’s ways are always cool for those who trust Him.

- – - written by Mary Joseph, Faridabad


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