UNDER HIS WINGS

When i think of protection, I don’t automatically think of a bird’s feathers. Though a bird’s feathers might seem like a flimsy form of protection, there is more to them than meets the eye.

Bird feathers are an amazing example of God’s design. Feathers have a smooth part and a fluffy part. The smooth part of the feather has stiff barbs with tiny hooks that lock together like the prongs of a zipper. The fluffy part keeps a bird warm. Together both parts of the feather protect the bird from wind and rain. But many baby birds are covered in a fluffy down and their feathers haven’t fully developed. So a mother bird has to cover them in the nest with her own feathers to protect them from wind and rain.

The image of God in Psalm 91:4 and Psalm 17:8 , is one of comfort and protection. The image that comes to mind is a mother bird covering her little ones with her feathers. Like a parent whose arms are a safe place to retreat from a scary storm or a hurt, God’s comforting presence provides safety and protection from life’s emotional storms.

Though we go through trouble and heartache, we can face them without fear as long as our faces are turned toward God. Hes is our “refuge”.

When fear causes hope to fade, flee to God, the refuge you can reach on your knees.

JOB 2:9

Job 2:9 – Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

Job’s story has made a deep impression on the life of many christian peoples, it wasn’t his suffering or sickness that struck me. It was his wife’s statement, the only place she was mentioned, that was what echoed in my head when I thought about the story.

“Curse God and Die.”

Between yesterday and this minute, we have had several ‘curse God and die’ moments. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. No one dies just after cursing God. But, going back to Job and to his wife, we understand that she was being very loving when she made that statement, that watching a loved one in pain and wanting to end that pain in the best way one knows is a valid sentiment.

The story of Job is framed in such a way that we don’t often realise that Job’s wife was in pain too. Everything Job lost, she lost as well. Just imagine the immense pain of losing a child, it’s hole that cannot be filled ever. Then think about the pain of losing more than one child? Two grown children? Job and his wife lost ten children. What is worse is that they all died in one day.

Imagine this, a woman carries ten pregnancies and arduous labour experiences, endures ten rounds of breast feeding- let no one deceive you, it is definitely not sunlight and roses. She worried, fretted and loved ten children into adulthood and to have them die in one day? It’s a wonder she didn’t go insane.

And she had to nurse a sick husband who was already broken in spirit and now broken in body, she was in pain too. Perhaps she was even in more pain than Job, it’s usually worse to watch a loved one struggle with illness than to be the one who is ill. There have been many moments in our life when we wake up in the middle of the night and find our father or mother peering over us. You see, You’re the one who is sick, they’re the ones who can’t sleep.

When we are in pain, and express that pain. When we ask God questions, when we cry out our pain to God. We are often asked not to, that questioning God is sin, that crying out to God is grumbling. But that’s exactly who I want to pour out my pain to, to ask him why he’s giving me a burden too heavy for me.

“God has never made a chair or a table, in all his years of being God, he’s never made a chair or table. He just made a tree, the rest of it is up to us.”

STORY OF GREAT FAILURE – PART 2

In 1913, Lee De Forest, inventor of the triode tube, was charged by the district attorney for using fraudulent means to mislead the public into buying stocks in his company by claiming that he could transmit the human voice across the Atlantic. He was publicly humiliated. Can you imagine where we would be without his invention?

A New York Times editorial on December 10, 1903 questioned the wisdom of the Wright Brothers who were trying to invent a machine, heavier than air, that would fly. One week later, at Kitty Hawk, the Wright Brothers took their famous flight.

As a young cartoonist, Walt Disney faced many rejections from newspaper editors who said he had no talent. One day a minister at a church hired him to draw some cartoons. Disney was working out of a small rodent-infested shed near the church. Seeing a small mouse inspired him to draw a new cartoon. That was the start of Mickey Mouse.

Henry Ford forgot to put the reverse gear in the first car he made.

Successful people don’t do great things, they only do small things in a great way.

STORY OF GREAT FAILURE – PART 1

True success is measured by the feeling of knowing we have done a job well and have achieved our objective, Success is not measured by our position in life but by the obstacles we overcame to get there.

Let me share a famous life history with you. This was a man who failed in business at the age of 21; was defeated in a legislative race at age of 22; failed again in business at age of 24; lost his sweetheart at the age of 26; had a nervous breakdown at age of 27; lost a congressional race at age 34; lost a senatorial race at age of 45; failed in an effort to become vice-president at age of 47; lost a senatorial race again at age of 49; and was elected president of the United States at age of 52. This man was Abraham Lincoln.

Would you call Lincoln a failure? He could have quit, hung his head in shame, and gone back to his law practice. But to Lincoln, defeat was a detour, not a dead end.

SHREK-THE LOST SHEEP

This article is about Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shave it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds(27.2 Kgs). Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

This is just an another reminder, when Jesus compares himself to a shepherd, and his followers are his sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but here Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world-a weight we don’t have to bear.

When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed- enough wool to make suits for 20 men! All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’-that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11 : 28-30

THE BUS-PASSENGER METAPHOR

The bus-passenger metaphor describes the ways in which our thoughts, emotions and memories seem to drive our life.

Close your eyes. Imagine you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, steering the wheel and watching passengers walk in and out.

The bus represents our mind, and the passengers symbolize our thoughts and feelings. You are the driver who exists separately from the passengers.

As a driver, you’ll make important decisions about the direction and speed of the bus. Some passengers may loudly express opinions about your driving, others may sit in silence.

THE SCARED PASSENGER : “Don’t go there, it’s unsafe!”

THE IMPATIENT PASSENGER : “Stop driving so slowly!”

The passengers get louder and louder and you begin to listen to their demands. You get anxious and stressed because instead of acknowledging that it’s okay for the passengers to feel this way, you shut them out.

With this feeling of rush of emotion, you forget that the passengers cannot touch you nor can they move the bus. The passengers will always have a seat but they will never drive the bus, only you can.

Similarly, your thoughts will never control you. They can never touch you. Negative and positive thoughts, neither can define you because they are simply passengers passing by.

Would you ever refuse a nasty passenger from boarding your bus? No. Similarly, listen to both your good and bad thoughts, acknowledge their existence. Instead of hearing “I’m worthless”, rephrase the thought with, “I am having a thought that says I’m worthless”. By doing this, you are objectifying the thought, rather than yourself.

“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.”
― Santosh Kalwar

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Ancient Indian Wisdom teaches us that our first responsibility is to the community, second to our family and third to ourselves. When this hierarchy is reversed, a society starts degenerating. Social Responsibility ought to be the moral obligation of every citizen. Responsibility and freedom go hand in hand. A sign of good citizen is that he is willing to pull his own weight.

Societies are not destroyed so much by the activities of rascals but by the inactivity of the good people. What a paradox! If good people can tolerate destruction by being inactive , how can they be good? The question is, are they discharging their social responsibility?

The price of greatness is responsibility. – Winston Churchill

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

Cheung was upset with his wife for failing to check the directions to the famous restaurants where they hoped to dine. The family had planned to round out their holiday in Japan with a scrumptious meal before catching the flight home. Now they were running late and would have to miss that meal. Frustrated, Cheung criticized his wife for her poor planning.

Later Cheung regretted his words. He had been too harsh, plus he realized that he could have checked the directions himself and he had failed to thank his wife for the other seven days of great planning.

Many of us may identify with Cheung. We are tempted to blow up when angry and to let words fly without control. Oh, how we need to pray as the psalmist did: “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (PS. 141:3).

But how can we do that? Here’s a helpful tip: Think before you speak. Are your words good and helpful, gracious and kind?(EPH, 4:29-32)

Setting a guard over our mouth requires that we keep our mouth shut when we’re irritated and that we seek the Lord’s help to say the right words with the right tone or, perhaps, not speak at all. When it comes to controlling our speech, it’s a lifelong work. Thankfully, God is working in us, giving us “the desire and the power to do what pleases him”

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

THE ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS

John Babler is the chaplain for the police and fire departments in his Texas community. During a twenty-two-week sabbatical from his job, he attended police academy training so that he could better understand the situations law enforcement officers face. Through spending time with the other cadets and learning about the intense challenges of the profession, Babler gained a new sense of humility and empathy. In the future, he hopes to be more effective as he counsels police officers who struggle with emotional stress, fatigue, and loss.

We know that God understands the situations we face because He made us and sees everything that happens to us. We also know He understands because He has been to earth and experienced life as a human being. He “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” as the person of Jesus Christ(John 1:14).

Jesus’s earthly life included a wide range of difficulty. He felt the searing heat of the sun, the pain of an empty stomach, and the uncertainty of homelessness. Emotionally, He endured the tensions of disagreements, the burn of betrayal, and the ongoing threat of violence.

Jesus experienced the joys of friendship and family love, as well as the worst problems that we face here on earth. He provides hope. He is the Wonderful Counselor who patiently listens to our concerns with insight and care(ISA. 9:6). He is the One who can say, “I’ve been through that. I understand.”

PRAYER:

Dear Lord, thank you for caring enough to humble yourself and come to earth as a human being.

KNOWLEDGE IS NOT POWER

We often are told that knowledge is power. Not really. Knowledge is information. It is potential power and it becomes power only when it is acted upon.

What is the difference between a person who cannot read and a person who can, but does not read? As Ben Franklin said, “Not a whole lot.”

Learning is a lot like eating. It is not how much you eat that matters, what matters is how much you digest. Knowledge is potential power; wisdom is real power. Education takes many forms; it is not just grades and a degree. It is; Cultivating your strength, Learning self-discipline, Listening, Eagerness to learn.

Our minds are like muscles, stretch or shrink, it all depends on how much or how little we exercise them.

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. – Derek Bok