Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh No, Another Blog!!!!

‘Oh No, Another Blog!!!!’ That was exactly how I reacted when I saw so many of my friends starting their own blogs. And, so I guess was your reaction too when you saw mine. Frankly speaking I never intended to start a blog. Even just a few days before I posted my first article, I was telling my friends how blogging was not my cup of tea, how blogging required a lot of time and commitment and how I couldn’t afford both, how addictive blogging can become etc etc etc. But one fine day (midnight actually), it just happened. I started this blog!! Well, this time I want to share with you how it happened and what happened once it happened.

It was during my second year in the Engineering college when I came to experience God in a way in which I have never experienced Him before. I experienced the Love, Forgiveness and Presence of the Living God. And since then He has been leading me interestingly. From an absolutely useless boy He has made me what I am, and helped me develop whatever little talents I have. And one thing He always told me was to start writing, start writing for Him. But being the lazy guy I am, I kept on procrastinating it for days, weeks, months and years. Over the past couple of years God spoke every clearly through others that I should start writing for Him. But every time it fell on deaf, disobedient ears. Till last month.

Two months ago, in one of the weekly prayer meetings I attend, while praying, Lord showed me a hand writing something with a pen- a vision which once again asked me to start writing. Till now I thought of writing some random articles, but now I knew about a better medium- Blog. Even then I kept on refusing and making excuses for not writing. I told Him, ‘Lord I don’t know what to write about.’ He replied, ‘Don’t worry. I am there.’ But still I didn’t do anything.

Finally, 30th October (Friday) night it actually happened. For the past few days Lord has been speaking to me about a particular topic through many different people, many different occasions and so I slowly started developing the topic. Slowly means really very slowly. For the first two days I had just typed the heading on a word doc!!! But that night I don’t know what happened to me. It was almost midnight when I got this strong urge to start a blog and I almost unknowingly did that,  it was as if somebody else was in control, as if God was making my hands type!!! Within an hour the blog was up and I posted an article I had written sometime back- ‘Oh!!! Daddy...’ Since then amazing things have been happening.

Next day's morning Mass was unforgettable!! Friday night I thought something about the next article before sleeping. And on Saturday in the Mass the priest said the very same thing - twice!! When I heard this I started praising God and couldn’t stop. Soon I could feel the presence of Almighty God so strongly that I could hardly stand. I was almost shivering. It was as if I was in the middle of a hurricane and something as powerful as that was all around me. I could understand how Moses used to describe God in the Old Testament- a God full of power and might!! It was just an out of the world experience. Something I have never felt before, not even in a retreat. All this in the very same church I go every day. Everything around me was the usual same, but there was a rush of things happening within me. After Mass I sat down to pray for some time. I was just praising and crying for most of the time. And during that time He gave me so many topics to write about. It was  as if God was standing there right next to me and dictating. And I thought I wouldn’t have topics
to write about!! Praise God!!

All this coz I just obeyed God and His dreams for me. As the Word of God says, “Whoever looks closely into the perfect law.. and does not simply listen and then forget it, but puts it into practice- that person will be blessed by God in what he does.” (James1:25) Three simple steps:
1.                                       1.  Listen to God’s word
2.                                       2. Obey and put it into practice
3.                                       3. Receive God's blessings.

It has been very true in my life. The moment I decided to obey what God was telling me for years, the blessings just flowed as if floodgates have been opened. He has taken care of everything-my studies, my relationship with friends, my ministry work, my family, filled me with joy and peace that is beyond even my understanding, He blessed me with a wonderful job. But more importantly and above all, since I started the blog, God has suddenly become so tangible, so near, so real that I can feel His presence, hear His voice, see His plans and experience His Amazing Love!! Not because I deserve it, but because of His Love.

Is God asking you to do something? Go ahead and do it. And be ready to receive showers of blessings.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

All's well....

Hey this time I want to tell you a few real life stories. None of the characters in these stories are fictitious and any resemblance with anyone alive is all but natural. Let me call them as A, C and M. All three of them were my seniors in Loyola institute of Business Administration (LIBA). And since everything in LIBA revolves around campus placements, these stories also revolve around it.

Mr A, though very talented and competent, was somehow left out of the placement process and joined it only towards the fag end. He still managed to land a job, but nothing regarding the job excited him. The company wasn’t in a sector he liked, the pay was too low and to add to all that it had bond, which means if he joins he would be stuck with the job that he didn’t like for quite some time to come. When the joining date came, he took a blind leap of faith and decided not to join. His faith in God was much more than the fear, power and the effects of recession/slowdown. He put up his CV in an online job portal. In a few weeks he got a call from a company and within days he joined it. I met him afterwards and he told me how perfect the job was for him, it was as if the job was tailor-made for him. It matched his earlier qualification, the job profile was exactly what he did for his summer project and the pay was much more than what the previous company offered. He is now happily working there.

Ms C went for many interviews throughout the placement process, but didn’t get a job. When she passed out she was still looking for one. Inspite of that she used to be calm, jovial and hopeful. Even after many months of passing out of the college, she didn’t get into any organisation. But finally one day she called me and told that she got a job! And that job was the best job possible. It was in a start-up firm and she was almost the boss, there was just one person above her in her field and so she got a really good exposure and was already doing and learning a lot. The best thing she told was that there was a beautiful Adoration chapel right next to her office where she could go and spend some time praying daily.

And this one is my favourite. Ms M was also in the same boat. She also couldn’t get through many of the interviews she faced. After a long wait she finally landed a job in a Bank which came almost at the end of her college days. And guess what? She also loved the job. She got posting in her hometown, so she could stay at home and enjoy home-made food and spend time with family.  She recently shared with me the most amazing thing that happened to her through this job. On the first day of her job at the training centre, she met a person and her life changed. She found her life partner and they are getting married in January next year!!

Amazing stories!!!! You know what was common among all three of them- their faith in God and His plans. Ya, surely they were disappointed at times, but their trust in Almighty God was unshaken. And why should it not be! Coz in the Bible it’s written, “In everything God works for the good of those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28)

So don’t worry. Whether you are looking for a job, working, studying, going through any struggles regarding friends, family etc; no matter what’s happening in your life, you are safe in His hands. The problem with us is that we want things right here, right now. And the good thing about God is that, he knows the ‘BEST’ and gives it to us in the right time. We might have to walk through the tunnel, but there is always light at the other end. The walk may seem long and torturous, but the end is always worth it. And while you walk through the tunnel don't forget to hold the hands of God, our loving Father. The three people that I mentioned also walked through the long dark tunnel, but they didn't walk alone. They held onto His caring hands and were able to see light, brighter than what they expected, at the other end.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow, they do not harvest and do not store food in barns, and yet God, your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than birds? Can any of you add a day to your life by worrying about it?.... Your Heavenly Father knows what you need. Set your heart first on the kingdom and justice of God and everything else will be given to you. Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matthew 6:26-34)

God knows the Best.  All the Best to you!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Faith is ILLOGICAL!!!

What is faith??? Everybody has something different to say.  As for me, Faith is Absolutely Illogical! Thats my POV.

I wanna tell you a story. 'Not so long ago, there was a man on a mountaineering mission. It was a dark winter night, and he was climbing up a steep, dangerous snow clad slope, when he suddenly lost control and fell... He fell off a cliff...... but fortunately on his way down to certain death he caught hold of a tree which grew right out of the cliff. He held on to it for dear life. It was very cold and foggy, so much so that he couldn’t even see his feet. While dangling in mid-air, he heard a voice asking him to “Let go”. Scared as he was, he tried ignoring that voice, but he kept on hearing the very same words again and again.  He realized that God was asking him to “Let go. Fall.” He said, “Here I’m hanging in mid air, holding onto a tree. I can’t even see what’s below me, and you are asking me to let go! What a stupid thing to do! I better stay here and wait for help than jump to my death. It would be morning soon and someone would come to rescue me.”  The morning surely did come soon, but not for him. That morning the local villagers were stunned to see a man frozen to death, holding on to a tree just a few feet above the ground!!' All because he thought that letting go was not logical enough.

These days we have become so logical. We try to look at pros and cons in everything we do. But there are some things where logic doesn't apply. Falling in Love is one such thing. And faith is nothing but falling in love with God! Not because we deserve His Love but because He loved us first. (1John4:10). Why should God who created everything, come in the form of human and live on earth? Why should God die on the cross for our sins, for the sins of every human past, present and future? Why should God forgive sinners, those who forsook Him, those who humiliated, stripped, chastised, crucified Him? Illogical? Absolutely!! God’s love for us is illogical and that’s how our faith should be: ILLOGICAL!!

Our simple faith is what God values and appreciates. I was just reading a passage from the Bible when I stumbled across a verse which hit me hard. Many a times when we pray we say ‘Lord, let it be done to me according to your will.’ But this verse was just the opposite! In this passage (Matthew9:27-31), two blind men follow Jesus asking Him to heal them. What Jesus tells is absolutely amazing. He says, “Let it be done to you according to your Faith.”(Mt9:29) Not according to His will, or according to what they deserve, or according to what is expected, or according to their ability or inability, or according to anything else. He just says, “according to your FAITH!” And that’s what happened. Their faith in Jesus was strong and needless to say they received what they asked for. This just showed me how much God values our innocent, blind faith. Faith can move God’s heart.

I would like to share an experience that one of my friends had. World Youth Day (WYD) is an event in which millions of youngsters from all over the world come together at one place to share, profess and grow in their faith in Christ. In 2005, Cologne, Germany hosted the WYD. My friend dearly wanted to go for it. But there was a major obstacle: Money. Somehow he arranged enough money for flight tickets, visa etc. After all this was done he hardly had any money left with him. He has been praying and longing to go for WYD for a long time. Finally he decided to go for it, even though it seemed completely illogical. When he left Chennai International Airport he had just Rs 500 (approx $10) with him and this was basically for his train fare back from Chennai to his home when he returns. He had absolutely no idea about what to do once he reaches Cologne. But he had faith in God! He prayed, he prayed every morning. And God sent him an angel every day. Every day He would come across someone who would sponsor his breakfast, lunch and dinner, would take him around and would give him a place to stay. All this, without him asking it from them.  It didn’t happen for a day or two, but for two week! In these two weeks he went around Cologne, Germany and France. He had a beautiful time during the WYD, and when he landed back in Chennai International Airport, he still had that Rs 500 with him. Everybody called him crazy when he decided to go for the WYD with just Rs 500 in his hands, but his illogical faith in God made it all possible. He had an all expense paid trip to Europe for two weeks and an experience of a lifetime, just because he trusted in God blindly.

Faith is ILLOGICAL! I'm someone who strongly believes in logical reasoning. Unless there is a strong logic supporting a choice, I wouldn't go for it. But when it comes to following God's ways, I try to keep the logic part away. Coz Faith is ILLOGICAL. And it is just that. Surely there are enough and more reasons to believe God exists, to logically prove His presence. But unless one experiences His Love, all the knowledge and reasons are  absolutely useless. And the only way to experience His Love is to trust in Him blindly.

The next time you have any doubt, confusion or dilemma, the next time you face a situation that you are not so sure of, the next time things are not going the way you want them to, the next time you have a decision to make, the next time you don’t know what to do, just close your eyes, have faith in God and jump.........                
the loving arms of God, our Father would be there to catch you.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew17:20)

Faith can move mountains.... More importantly faith can move God's heart. Have Faith.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Knock, Knock, Knocking on Your Door!!

I would like to share another incident from my engineering college days.

In the fifth semester there was a subject named Computer Organisation and Architecture (COA). I got 49/50 in the internals and hence I was a bit overconfident. We got two days off before its university exam and I was wasting time when most of my classmates were busy preparing as it was considered one of the most difficult subjects. Only the night before the exam I realised that our professor had taught us just half of the syllabus and that too the easy half. There was a lot that wasn’t taught and hence I didn’t know anything about it. Suddenly, I didn’t know what to do. All this while I thought I knew it all, and then I realise that actually I knew very little. Lot of portion still needed to be covered. I tried doing everything: studying fast, learning from friends etc, but nothing worked. Finally fed up, I slept off. But I was unable to do even that.  After sometime I got up and sat on my study table all tensed up, worried, discouraged and staring at the thick text book without any hope at all. Just then I happened to glance at the picture of Christ in front of me and out of my utter desperation I prayed out to Him, asking Him to help me. I invited Him to study with me. I prepared for some time and then gave it all in His hands and slept.

The next day, during the exam I had a great time. The question paper was simply amazing. Almost the entire question paper seemed out of syllabus for me, when actually it wasn’t. I got a window seat to write my exam and most of the time I spent looking at birds outside in the lawn, taking bath in the pond and then flying away. I also managed to sleep off for a while during the three hour long exam.  When the exam got over, I had no idea whether my boat will reach the other shore or not. Anyways I just said a small prayer. After a few months the results came. I had butterflies in my stomach when I went to the notice board to check my result. Actually it was more like ostriches in my stomach!! For the first time in my life, a failure in exam was staring right at my face. I saw my marks and guess what? I passed the paper. And guess how much I got? 40. That’s the pass marks. Exactly how much I needed. 49/50 in internals and 40/100 in the university exam!! Phew!! I could say just one thing, “Praise God!!”

A few days later I stumbled upon a bible passage which showed me exactly what was happening during that night before my COA exam. It’s a passage from John’s Gospel (Ch6:16-21), which talks about how Jesus’ twelve disciples were sailing in a boat when they were caught in a fierce storm in the middle of the sea. They had lost all hope and were sure they would die. Jesus at that time was on a mountain praying. Though not physically with them, He came to know the danger they were in. He in no time came down from the mountain, walked on the water and reached their boat!! He stood their right next to the boat saying “Do not be afraid. It is me.” What happened next really shook me up. Jesus just stood there, simply stood there without doing anything. The disciples then willingly invited Jesus into the boat and the moment Jesus came aboard, the storm calmed and the boat reached the place they were heading for. What happened here was truly amazing. Jesus realised the plight of His disciples, came down from the mountain, walked three or four miles on the water and came and stood in front of their boat, but He didn’t take that one step into the boat. He waited for them and entered only when they ‘willingly received’ Him. That’s exactly what was happening to me that night. I was in trouble, in a big problem, in a storm and I lost all hope. Jesus knew this and he was with me all through, but he never barged in. He was waiting for me to invite Him and when I finally did he made sure that my boat crossed the sea and reached the other side.

This is what happens to us many a times. Whenever we face a problem we get tensed, worried, troubled, we immediately rush to our friends, our families or in many cases we try to handle it ourselves. When nothing works out we get discouraged, loose hope. We don’t realise that through all these moments Jesus is there with us, right besides us, understanding all the pain that we are going through. He just needs an invitation to come and set things right, but many a times we forget to do that. Once we do, rest assured He would take care of everything.

Jesus is a God who doesn’t sit in His glorious throne waiting for people to come to Him. He is a God who goes out to be with them. A God who went to search for the lost Sheep, a God who went to the sinking boat to save His disciples, a God who went to heal the Centurion’s daughter; a God who went to raise Lazarus from the dead; a God who went into Peter’s house to heal his mother-in-law; a God who went to the house of a sinful tax collector and saved the entire household; a God who, though being the Creator of the entire universe, came down to earth, to be with us, to suffer for our sins, to die so that we could live. And it’s not all over. Even today He understands all our problems and comes to help us.

The next time you face a problem, don’t think that the Lord is unaware of it. He knows everything, He understands the pain you are going through, He knows the help you need, He knows how to solve the problem in seconds, but He awaits your gentle invitation. Just as in the passage above, the Lord comes down from the mountain, walks on water and stands right next to you in your times of testing, when storms are raging in your lives; but He doesn’t take that one step into your boat. Though almighty, He respects your freedom to choose. If you, like His disciples, ‘willingly receive’ Him, then your boat will reach where it is supposed to and your problems vanish in no time.

The Lord says, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come into your house and have supper with you and you with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

Some weeks ago a call from home troubled me, there were lot of problems going on at home. I instantly thought of calling up one of my friends and discussing about the problem. But suddenly I was inspired to do something else. Instead of picking up my mobile and calling my friend, I went down on my knees and prayed, inviting Jesus into the situation. To my amazement the problem that seemed so grave got solved within a couple of days. And my friend never came to know about it, except when I shared it as a thanksgiving in one of the prayer meetings the next week.

So in whatever you do and in whatever situation you are in, invite Jesus and see the hope, joy, love and grace rush in. He is knocking, don’t let Him go away.

Dont tell God how big your problem is. Tell your problem how big your God is!!

Do share your experiences through comments.