Spiritual Well-being

How often do we pray that our eyes will be opened to see the Word? Or ears to open to hear the Word? Or our hearts to be the good soil so that we will bear fruits that will last? Ps 119:17-24images (1)2143857675..jpg

Lord, we pray for our spiritual well-being, our eyes to be opened to see the wonderful things of Your Word, ears to be opened to receive it, and hearts to be prepared to produce fruits that will last.

Lord let our love for You and Your Word consume all the gifts that You have given us or will give us so that we will keep coming back to You and Your Word.

 

 

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Parents of Adult Children

“He is a failure,” a deep sense of sadness was clear in the father’s voice. In childhood his son was so smart that his parents had high hopes for their only son. But life turned out to be different. Depression and inability to complete his education resulted in an unfortunate situation.

In childhood, parents can be like the mother eagle hovering over  children. And children seem to enjoy the quick fixes parents do to save them from trouble and mishap. Last minute help with projects or providing some excuse for being late to school, failing the exam, or covering up the child’s mistake also save parents from shame. But how long can a parent do this? Will parents always have the resources or energy to meet all the demands as parents and children grow older?

Of course, it is painful to witness unfulfilled dreams and unresolved hurts in children. When they’re young we hope that everything will be okay when they grow up. This is an optimistic outlook but can be an excuse for enabling the child to learn to deal with issues. When children reach adulthood, parents cannot adhere to such an optimistic outlook. Then they may feel helpless. Greater will be the sense of helplessness if adult children do not want parents to meddle in their situation.
Even though I pray that none of the readers face disheartening situation with adult children, what can parents of adult children do in such a situation? Are parents helpless just because they don’t have the resources and strength to help their children? Not at all. God answers the prayer of parents and will open doors that no one can close. So parents can continue to bring their requests to God on behalf of their children. Besides, parents can continue to model how to walk fixing their eyes on Jesus no matter what they face. Next, parents can stop acting as the savior for the adult children for every situation but can be of help in emergencies. This is especially true with providing all financial support for healthy adult children as this will further hinder children from obeying the biblical mandate to work to eat. Fourth is about parents being the remote control for the children. This will disable them from being self-directed adult. It doesn’t mean parents don’t provide any directions or wisdom. Parents continue to be all these for children no matter how old they grow. Fifthly, parents can avoid speaking disheartening words to children and to others about them. But say words that build children’s self worth and hope in Lord. It will remind them that no matter how long is the night, the sun will rise again. Besides, from childhood, walk closely with children so that when they fall or make mistakes you are available to teach them how to get up and do life with the lessons learned. Finally, you can live out the perspective that education is not just about scoring good marks and being on the top of the world but about learning to live together in harmony with others with total trust in God. In other words life is all about learning to love God and love your neighbours.

Published earlier in Kraistavaezhuthupura

Same Page But New Expectation!

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On Jan 1. 2016, I sat down in my usual spot, near my bed on the mat. As I turned my The 365 Day Bible to the page that says, January 1, I was overwhelmed with a sense of awe. I have been using this Bible for over 20 years. Thus I have turned to this page numerous times. So nothing new, a routine by now! Then why did I have the emotions I experienced? Why was I filled with a new expectation, a new apprehension and a new hope? Of course, the New Year has something to do with it. But that’s not it.

I realized that it has to do with my spirit tuning in to the Spirit of God to  listen to what He will speak to me through His Word. As I have quieted my spirit, mind and body, I was ready to listen to Him. And He spoke.  As I journaled my reflections from my reading for the day, my eyes welled up with tears. I knew my spirit was connecting with His Spirit. Something I want to experience all throughout my days.

I have shared my thoughts about spending Time Alone with God in my earlier blog, A Habit Worth Investing Your Time. There I shared a method for reflective reading of the Scripture.  In another blog, A Gift and a Shift I have penned how I was drawn to the desire to read the entire Bible in one year through the gift of my great uncle.

I want to encourage all of us to enjoy the experience of spending the Time Alone with of God through reading of the Bible. Besides, I encourage all of us to read the whole Bible in one year. There are many Bible reading plans to guide us in this process. The one I follow is found in  http://www.biblica.com/en-us/bible/reading-plans/ This guides us to read the entire Bible in a year. Recently I heard about M’Cheyne’s Bible reading plan http://www.mcheyne.info/calendar.pdf. Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843) developed this plan to guide the reader through the New Testament and Psalms twice, and the rest of the Bible once, each year.

It is not about deciding which plan is the best, but adjusting our schedule and prioritizing our time to escape to a quiet place with the Bible and see what God wants to speak to us every day. As the years go by we will find ourselves in the same page but with renewed expectation to hear from our Master and Lord. May we enter into His presence to taste and see that His mercies are new everyday!

 

Posted on Jan 2, 2016

God, My Divine Host

I grew up in an extremely hospitable home. My parents went out of their way to literally accommodate 100’s of people. Some of them made our home theirs for couple of days every week, others stayed couple of weeks  every year,  while some stayed with us for many years.  This is beside those who ate at our home every day.

Without realizing hospitality became part of my nature.  Couple of days after I  arrived in images.jpgmy husband’s apartment, we invited his friend’s family for dinner.  Even though I was not at all an experienced cook,  I tried to make a special Indian dish for them. In the last 26 years of our life together we have invited many to our home. Yet I don’t claim that I am as hospitable as my parents.

Only recently have I begun to realize that I am the guest of the Divine Host.  I did not realize that I have an open invitation to share in the fellowship with Him, so He came to me and said I am your Immanuel who stays with you forever.  Actually I was not in a  state to know the depth, height and width of this fellowship so He tried to explain it with his deeds.  But still I didn’t get it. Then He invited me to His table, Lord’s Supper to show me the extent of the fellowship He sets before me.

I was not part of the elite group when I received the invitation.  Nobody would have called me to such a great banquet. He found me among the poor, the crippled,  the blind and the lame in the alley and in the street.  Thus I became the guest of the Divine Host. I got the glimpse of His unconditional love for the first time.

Yet my story didn’t end with the banquet. He did not ask me to leave the banquet after it was over. I realized that He has invited me to Himself not just to a meal or home. The ultimate hospitality!  I was invited to share His life, to be His daughter, precious indeed as He purchased me for God to serve Him as a  royal priest. Forever I belong to Him and He belongs to me.

Then He said, “extend the same hospitality to others in the alleys and streets.” I missed the point at first,  then I put a small step but feared that my new friends would call me “friend of sinners, drunkard,  and glutton.” I valued their opinion more than His commission.  I often looked to others and not Him to whom I belong for eternity.

He waited all these years to teach me the implications of being the guest of the Divine Host. Now at least I have turned in that direction of being one. Yet, “Lord, there is more to learn. Give me the grace to lean on You every day to be hospitable like You to extend Your love to the unloved and unlovable.”

How has this thought inspired you? Please leave your comments.

 

Posted on Dec 18, 2015

Who is Right?

Have you ever been in a situation where you can feel the tension rising in the air when one is trying to prove that he/she has the right opinion or view? Even when no one is trying to prove anything the monologue continues with great zeal. Usually the more mature ones opt to nod their heads approving of the other. They know that there is at least some truth on their side but are still willing to let go. The other settles down knowing that he/she is always right. The insecurity masked under the zeal is clear but never addressed.

If our children behave like that then you know they are going to grow out of that. Or if the person is a stranger or someone you see occasionally, then you can afford to ignore it and be kind.  But what if you have to face it from the close family member or a co-worker who is 40+?  This can be quite an exhausting and choking experience after some time.

Yet whether in family or work we are called to be different. Paul exhorts us “And may God, the source of patience and encouragement, enable you to have the same point of view among yourselves by following the example of Christ Jesus” (Rom 15:5, GNB). As I read this, I felt like God is inviting me to be more than what I can be. Then I was reminded of the times when God stood by my side showing His patience and encouragement proving that my fear and others’ judgment were false.

I have missed the mark many times, but His patience made me cross the Red Sea, scale high mountains, and walk on the water.  When I thought sitting in the right and left of His throne was the best place for me, He nudged me to see the bigger picture of being with Him. He showed me that being humble, gracious, and forgiving is better than being ambitious, judgmental, and arrogant. He continues to show me higher planes telling me there is more to grasp to be where He dreams me to be for which  He persistently invests in me His patience and encouragement.

And next time when someone is trying to prove that they are right it is better to guard your heart rather than destroying the relationships while trying to prove that you are right. So bite your tongue, take a deep breath and fall into the bosom of God who is the source of patience and encouragement.

Allow all your insecurities to melt away. May we become cheerleaders as we watch God taking people to the place of security in Him which we treasure.

This is quite a journey, journey of dying to self. God is always right, He is not done with us as He shepherds us in the journey.

Photo Courtesy: www.123rf.com

 

Posted on Sep  15, 2015

Blessed with an Eternal Family

Time has come to say bye to my son again. The one week we spent together was a blessed time of renewal for our soul and spirit. It was indeed the answer to my daily prayer.

Tossing Thoughts

As I packed his breakfast my heart became heavy and my mind tossed between two thoughts: My son needs to be where God wants him to be;  how can I not see him for such a long time?

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Immediately another thought flashed into my mind. Jesus knows this pain. I was reminded of His mother Mary who stood outside the temple hoping to see her son. Later on Jesus was away from his home for almost three years. Being on the road means being away from the safety and security of His home and His loved ones. However, being on earth means away from the safety of heaven. Where will He sleep?  Where will He eat? Who will provide for him shelter and food? Neither His mother nor He knew the answers for these questions.

Family Away from Home

But definitely His heavenly Father knew the answers. Being away from heaven or from His earthly home never meant away from the presence of His Father. Besides, Jesus clearly knew that He had many mothers, sisters, and brothers away from His home who do the will of the Father just like He does.

Clarity for the Voice

I was just thinking about how I will miss my son quite ignoring how my son would feel being alone in another country.  I could not see how the thought “Jesus knows the pain” can bring comfort to a mother grieving over the imminent separation from her son.

But as I write this blog it became clear that Jesus wanted me to see the turmoil that may be in my son.  I am being filled with the assurance that God will surround him with many who do the will of God and they will be his family away from home.

Indeed an Eternal Family

As long as we are in the will of God, our heavenly Father will provide for us many mothers, sisters, and brothers. They will be our eternal family. So my prayer for my son, “O Lord, may he always stay in the will of his Father. “

Posted on Aug 22, 2015

Where a Mother Cannot Reach….

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My heart ached as part of me wanted to be with my child but reality was that I could not be there at lunch time as I worked about 20 kms away from her school.  I reminisced about my own childhood.  As my mother had died during my mid-teen years, I knew the feeling of a child who longs for her mother.  But I know that mothers cannot always be with their children.

I held my daughter close to me and said, “Dear, I want to be there with you during lunch, but you know I cannot. However I know that Jesus is with you always even in times when I cannot be with you. He will be with you during lunch time.” I sensed peace on her face.

Years have passed after that incident.  Now she in college about 700 kms away from me. She came home for two days due to certain illness.  When the day of her return came, I guess I was in more pain than her. I wanted to be near her to care for her.  But my schedules again made it impossible to fulfill the desire. Later she voiced the same wish in between tears and cries. My heart cried yet I want to be strong for her. I was constantly troubled by the limitation I experienced.

Parents can agree with me that they have felt the same many times in life.  Regardless of the age of our children, we want to hold them in our arms to assure them of our love for them. But the truth is that the everlasting arms of God are always holding them and us to see us through every difficult time. The plan of God is always to build us and to bring a good future for us. Where a mother cannot reach, God is already there!