Yesterday, we were invited to a dinner hosted to celebrate 25 yrs. in service of an unique charitable organisation from Kerala, India. A middle aged couple who take care and are involved in the upbringing of children of prisoners gave their testimonies about their work amidst these needy children. It was an eye opener to many of us. Their passion to work among these truly downtrodden and helpless children was amazing. Sending money to orphanages for the running of such institutions are done by many and is indeed a noble deed, but sharing the griefs and pains and troubles of the children involved, day in and day out is something far noble. They are taking care of 65 such children and every day is a new challenge. In fact, there are several challenges, which they overcome, by trusting in their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I remembered Jesus' word's when I heard them speak.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
A challenge to me as well.

Yesterday, we were invited to a dinner hosted to celebrate 25 yrs. in service of an unique charitable organisation from Kerala, India. A middle aged couple who take care and are involved in the upbringing of children of prisoners gave their testimonies about their work amidst these needy children. It was an eye opener to many of us. Their passion to work among these truly downtrodden and helpless children was amazing. Sending money to orphanages for the running of such institutions are done by many and is indeed a noble deed, but sharing the griefs and pains and troubles of the children involved, day in and day out is something far noble. They are taking care of 65 such children and every day is a new challenge. In fact, there are several challenges, which they overcome, by trusting in their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I remembered Jesus' word's when I heard them speak.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)
A challenge to me as well.

That is realy good news my friend.

Thanks for sharing that ministry.

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from an evangelist, who is working in remote places in North Bengal, India.
He ekes out his living by being a musician and a recordist and is a missionary among several tribes near the Indo-Bhutan border. Long back, he was a member of a hard rock group, then washed clean by the precious blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, now a precious witness of the saving grace of God among tea- estate workers and tribals.

In his own words, " Sir, I am a pastor of four fellowships in North Bengal region, border to the kingdom of Bhutan. I am from a hindu background, but having a Christian name because my father is a catholic and my mother, a hindu. Born and brought up in Kerala. I left Kerala when God saved me from the sinful life of rock bands. I stayed and shared Gospel in many states..... Srinagar, Pulwama of Kashmir for around six years and now more than six years here in this border region. From our home to Bhutan is 20 minutes, Bangladesh is less than two hours. Nepal and China are also not so far. We are serving the Lord independently till today. Of course, there are difficulties....."

He ended the mail with...."Please don't misunderstand that I send this mail seeking financial help. God bless you. Happy New Year 2012."

Once God asked Isaiah a question....."Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And he responded, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8)
Praise God that even now there are Isaiah's who respond wholeheartedly when God asks them the question...."Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
26/01/2012 Yesterday was truly a forgettable day with trouble brewing from morning. It continued through the day though I had started the day, on a right note, according to my thinking, namely with worship, prayer and meditation of the Word. The cold weather bit hard as I walked to pay some bills, early morning, before leaving to the clinic. My consulting room was unusually cold as the heater was non-existent and an irritating cough left a tightness in my chest. One of my patients was in a nasty mood, a few patients of mine were accidentally sent to another doctor and the evening chilly winds left me shivering.
Why are some days better than others? is a question that plagues many believers. We may do everything by the book, but still things turn out sour. Of course, the answers don't come easily, even to them who are real close to God.
The Apostle Paul calls these troubles that we face "light and momentary"; though the problems that he encountered were not trivial ones; some of them were truly crushing. Yet he wrote, Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
A good exhortation for all of us.

Yesterday, I met a middle aged believer with Chronic kidney disease; he was on dialysis thrice a week. If I had not been told before hand by another friend of mine about his condition, I would never have guessed. He was cheerful while conversing about family, business, spiritual truths and life in general. Perhaps one would wonder where he could muster this kind of strength while going through this painful illness. For him, the verse, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)" seemed fitting.

God's strength is truly manifest in our weaknesses. This was what God told Paul, the Apostle;
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9a)
And Paul's response to that was that he would all the more gladly boast about his weaknesses, so that Christ's power would rest on him.

It would be wise to conclude then, that it's "all grace". And so we must give him praise who says, "I am who I am".... (Exodus 3:14) and who proclaims, "I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.........(Isaiah 45:5)

Yesterday, the Lord put a new song in my mouth. It was not during worship or my quiet time; no, just while I was doing some cleaning work at home. Most of the more than 100 songs that I have written are in my mother tongue Malayalam. A language which is the local dialect of Kerala, a state in South India. Since I was born and brought up in Mumbai, I could not read or write the language though I conversed in it at home with family. When I was 28 years old, the Lord brought me to Kerala; I had no idea that he was going to call me into Christian ministry though I was well versed in the Bible. 2 years later, I started preaching in English, but since I needed a translator each time I preached, there were difficulties. So I started learning to read in Malayalam and it was through constant reading of the Malayalam Bible, that I started preaching in Malayalam too. The beginnings were really difficult, there were mistakes, but the Lord strengthened me and then he gave me songs. I did not have to write them with my knowledge; he gave me the songs with the tunes. Great are the ways of God. I still do not know how to write in Malayalam, but there's no actual need for that. If there was, he would have made me learn....

The Apostle Paul exhorts young Timothy....
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:5,6)

He continues by saying,
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Yes, all of us who have received forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, have been given, not the spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, so we must use our God given talents and gifts to glorify him.

Yesterday, I read an article that inspired me much. In 1775, a young preacher named Augustus M. Toplady, was caught in a sudden storm, which forced him to take shelter in a cleft of a huge rock. As he waited for the storm to pass, he thought about how God had been a shelter for him in his life's storms. He found a playing card on the floor of his newly found shelter and wrote the words of the wonderful hymn, “Rock of Ages.” A hymn which has been a source of comfort to countless souls.

The ending stanza says....While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.

Toplady died in 1778. Would he ever have imagined that a couple of centuries later, his hymn would still be sung in homes, churches and conferences. What an awesome blessing; something that no material gift can match.

Our testimony (written, spoken or sung) of the goodness of God is significant; it can do many things....refresh a weary soul, draw someone lost to the Saviour, encourage a depressed believer, challenge a Christian soldier and so much more.

If you ask Christians who Augustus M. Toplady is, not many will tell you. But to the question whether they have sung or heard "Rock of Ages" many will nod affirmatively.

Our testimony will probably outlive us, if the Saviour's return is delayed, and it will be a blessing to many; so let us do the Saviour's bidding while we can.....Remember the Master's words.....
As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4)

Yesterday, the road in front of the clinic that I work in, was being newly tarred. The roads had been dug up around a month back and work had progressed slowly. Now the recovery process was almost complete. The patients were inconvenienced no end as they had to take tortuous paths to reach the backside of the clinic. Doctors in the clinic were troubled too because the patient flow to the clinic was suffering. Neither the doctors or the patients were the cause for the trial that had ensued because the local authorities had decided to renovate the roads. Some things are not really under our control so as to say. But we do learn from our experiences. Sometimes in life, we feel shaken because of certain circumstances that we have landed in, without us really having wanted to. To be precise, "you want out, but you cannot" the situation that you are in.

So what's to be done? Did it happen without the Lord's knowing? No, of course not. He knows every bit of it. In fact, he's totally involved, though we usually do not observe his subtle moves to redeem us from the situation. He's always working for the good of those who cry out to him for mercy.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly......(Luke 18:7, 8a)

For those of us who are wanting out from troublesome situations that we have landed in, here's an exhortation from the psalmist....
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14)
Yesterday, the Lord reminded me again that his coming is very near and that I have to be ready to meet him. One of the first dreams that I saw after I was filled with the Holy Spirit, was about the Rapture and I can still remember so very clearly what I had seen. Of course, there are many who do not believe that such an event will take place, but that's not the issue here. The issue is "being ready" at all times to meet the Saviour.

So many exhortations and in so many New Testament books.

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44)

Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back - whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. (Mark 13:35)

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning...It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. (Luke 12:35, 38)

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Luke 12:40)
Here's an exhortation for all of us from the Apostle Peter...
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:13, 14)

It's been 17 years since I saw the dream and I believe it will be fulfilled in my lifetime. I must be ready and so must you.

Yesterday, the weather forecast for today was that it would bright and sunny. It was bright and sunny for a start, but then a dust storm hit and visibility decreased considerably. Well, it was not actually a storm in the strictest sense; more like gusty dust winds, but it created a lot of problems for drivers and for people walking on the roads. Some were caught unawares and had to take immediate care not to breathe in the dust swirling around or be smeared with loads of dust. Acting wisely without wasting time can often save one from unwanted misery.

But what if things are not in our hands at all or what if things get out of hand? We may strain at the oars like the disciples did one night when Jesus asked them to get into the boat and go on ahead of him.

We read in the gospel of Mark...
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down..... (Mark 6:45-51)

The disciples who were experienced fishermen, were straining at the oars because of troublesome winds. But the wonderful thing was that, there was one who saw their misery and saved them. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. Though we do not see him, he is there with each one of us who have put our trust in him. Our Saviour will hear our cries and calm all the storms threatening to destroy our lives. Let's keep trusting in him.

Yesterday, one of the medical representatives who visited me, handed me a diary for the new year. He apologized profusely for giving it after a month of the new year was over. It was February 1st and when he mentioned it, I suddenly realized that a whole month of 2012 had just whizzed by. Someone said, "Time flies" and it really does. At least for some. But there are others for who time drags, because of troubled times. As Solomon once said, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven....(Ecclesiastes 3:1)". Even "times" when time flies and "times" when time drags. But then these are the seasons of life, and everyone goes through it, except for those who leave this world young.

So what season are you in? Is time flying or has it come to a standstill?
If things have come to a standstill or are moving real slow, as a child of God, you still have hope, because you have trusted in the One who has time in his hands. As the Psalmist affirmed once.....My times are in your hands......(Psalm 31:15)

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:5)

Things will change as do the seasons. Hope and trust in your Saviour Jesus. He loves you.

Yesterday, I read online about an interesting ritual among young girls in the Newar community of the Kathmandu valley of Nepal. They are married thrice; firstly at age 9-10 to a god that they worship, secondly, a couple of years later, to the sun and thirdly to a man at around 25 years of age. Marriage to a god is symbolized by marrying the young girl to the fruit of the wood-apple tree, a representation of their god. Marriage to the sun takes place by the girl spending 12 nights in a dark room, a ritual that earns her protection according to local beliefs. Most of us may find this strange, even funny; but for them who have grown up believing and practising these things, it's a part of life.

As a believer in the salvation that is made available by God through Jesus Christ, I feel sad for such, who have not yet known Christ and are living a life full of superstitions. But it challenges me to do more for the Lord and take the gospel to the unreached. How about you? Are you resting content that you are saved? Or do hearing such things spur you on to take the good news to the spiritually impoverished?

Read what the Apostle Paul writes to the believers in Rome....
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Romans 10:13-15)

We have our tasks cut out. Only time will tell how faithful we have been to the Lord's calling in our lives.

Yesterday, I started teaching my younger daughter the book of 1 Samuel. Spending time with her, especially with the Word involved was a blessing. She could have managed it herself, being 14 years old, but I felt the need. In fact, we all need to listen to others speaking the Word, because we learn many new things. There are things that the Holy Spirit impresses upon each of our minds when we read the Bible and when we share them, the blessings are multiplied. Even if we have good knowledge of the Word and are great preachers or Bible teachers, when we hear others expound the Word, new dimensions, that we did not know often surfaces.

In the Old Testament, God had impressed upon the Israelites that they must teach their children his words or words of the law....

....may teach them to their children. (Deuteronomy 4:10)

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

Teach them to your children....... (Deuteronomy 11:19)

Though the laws are not binding upon us, we have much to learn from them. God wanted the Israelites to teach their children these laws. What for? one may ask. He had only one purpose in bless them and their children. Many times these exhortations ended that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time. (Deuteronomy 4:40)

May God Almighty help us all (who have children) to learn from these exhortations and do likewise.

Yesterday, travelling in a van, several friends of mine discussed how a certain e-mail service they had been using for years had gone haywire with inboxes not opening and some even unable to log in. The problem seemed to be widespread as many complaints were registered on the internet regarding the same. The conclusion among my friends was that the cause was systematic hacking and so some decided to use other e-mail services. The question arises as to how safe is our private information on the internet? Not the right answer. Hackers find ways to even get into government sites of several countries, so a personal website or an e-mail inbox is no big deal.

An evangelist who runs a Christian fortnightly in India sadly told me the other day that his website of the newspaper was hacked and destroyed several times because "Hallelujah" was the title. One Christian forum was similarly hacked a few months ago and now it no longer functions, except that people can read what was posted earlier.

Passwords can be made cryptic, they can be changed regularly, but still they may be deciphered and one may sustain loss. One weapon which can really stop the enemy in his tracks is consistent prayer.
The Bible says,
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. (1 Peter 3:12)
Consistent Prayer is an oft forgotten and centuries old weapon, but as powerful as it has ever been. Sadly, it's one that is oft ignored to the Christian's loss....To tell the truth.....the enemy has hacked many a Christian's prayer life.

Yesterday, I pondered how it would be when I would see Jesus for the first time. It was in 1984 that I accepted him as Saviour and Lord and in the last 27 years have prayed to him with faith without ever seeing him. And so would the story go for many of you reading this. 1 yr, 3yrs.,5yrs., 10 yrs., 15 yrs.,....and so on and so forth. It's not a small thing that you and I have achieved. With faith, believing that he lives, we are marching towards that golden day, when we will finally see our Saviour face to face.

Come to think, one of the disciples had a hard time believing. Thomas......
Let me quote him, as John mentions in his gospel....
"....Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." (John 20:25)

And Jesus heard what he said, though he was not physically present at the time. So the remedy and the rebuke......A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:26, 27)

And Jesus had some loving comments for them who believe without seeing.....even us.....
"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)
Yesterday, another 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Negros - Cebu Region in the Philippines. Many died and many were missing, possibly buried under the debris. Another catastrophe, reminding us that things are not well with our planet. Whereever we live in the world, we are only as safe as the Lord keeps us. Walking on the road, driving a bike, travelling in trains or planes, at the workplace or resting at home, we need to depend on his love, compassion and mercy. Acknowledging that he is a prayer hearing and prayer answering God, we need to seek his face continually. At the same time, it is important that we keep ourselves undefiled from the pollution that is there around us, namely, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

The Apostle John exhorts us in this manner....
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:2, 3)

The end of this age is near as world events tell us. Shall we then take the above exhortation to heart and purify ourselves?

For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:16, 17)

Yesterday was another brutally cold day in most of Europe. Temperatures dipped far below zero in many countries. According to news reports, the hardest hit country is Ukraine, where temperatures as low as minus 32 degrees Celsius have left more than a 100 people dead. Most of the dead were ones without houses or anything that could be called a shelter. Trying times......

That would be a good reminder to all of us who have houses or flats or a room for that matter, whether owned or rented, that we must be grateful to God for this provision of his. God's provisions whether small or great are signs of his goodness and we must thank him and praise him for that.

He, in fact, is our real shelter. The Psalmist says,
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)

God is our shelter, come winter or summer. Let's trust in his goodness and abide in his shadow. His promise to "never leave us nor forsake us" still holds true.

Family reunions are wonderful occasions; at least, most of them are. Yesterday, at the airport, I witnessed such an uninhibited expression of love by a little child, perhaps 3-4 years of age. Must have been her Dad, who was arriving, for she was with a lady, perhaps her Mom. Her eyes were darting anxiously for the doors to open and see him come out of the arrival section. Every time someone else came out, she seemed disappointed and looked at her Mom, questioning the delay. And then finally, he stepped out with a trolley on which were a couple of suitcases. No sooner had she seen him, she freed herself from her Mom and ran towards him and jumped high into his arms, embraced him and showered a few kisses on his face. He too hugged her lovingly and then carried her with his arm around her. The child seemed oblivious to everyone and everything around and kept gazing at her father, now talking, now listening. How long must have him been away? Perhaps, quite a while, perhaps not much. But the longing in the child was passionate.

Do we have the same passion as we wait for the return of our Saviour? was something that crossed my mind later that day. How long will be the wait? No one knows, but we have the Saviour's promise.
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)

And his exhortation goes in this manner....
"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."(Luke 21:34-36)

I prefer to remain quiet during cab rides, because the moment, the driver knows that I am a Doctor, there will spill out a series of health related questions and a free consult. Not that I don't want to be helpful, but sometimes I am tired and prefer a peaceful ride. The cab driver that I got yesterday was into conversation with me the moment I stepped into his vehicle. There were quite a few random questions followed by, "do you work in a bank?" No, said I, "I am a doctor" now knowing, the series of questions that would follow. "A child specialist?" "No, I said, "I am a Physician". The rest of the ride was spent with him querying me about his diabetes, what all complications would ensue, his medications, a story how his friend who had diabetes died young and whether he would go the same way. Finally, when he dropped me off, he had 2 requests one for my visiting card and the other, to give him preference when he visited me for his diabetes. Looking at it from his point of view, he had gained much. His wages, a free consult and a few other free things.

"Free" is one word that attracts people so much. And product manufacturers of all kinds take huge advantage of the word. The internet is plagued with free offers from i-pads to i-pods to i-phones to free trips and what not. Spams and scams are the thing that every internet user has to deal with. Some fall for the traps, some learn from painful experiences and turn wise and some keep suffering looking for that "genuine" free though it rarely comes.

We all learn from our experiences in life and the Bible advices us to be wise. There is a great deal of wisdom to be gained from the books of wisdom in the Old Testament, namely, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes & Song of Solomon (Song of Songs).

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7) is what the Bible advices us.....