Monday, July 30, 2012

God Told Me?!...

I have seen many people who claim that they say or do things because God told them to do. I am little skeptical about this outlook. I am not stating that these people are fake though there are false teachers, preachers and prophets. But generally believers are under the assumption that God talks to them directly and tells them to do things. This is common among those believers who perceive themselves to be highly spiritual just because they spend more time with God or do ministries in His name.

It is true that God speaks to His children who spend time with Him. But I believe all those communications  would be like that of a Father to a child. When we are down, He speaks a word of comfort or encouragement, a promise to meet a need, His unconditional love, His forgiveness, His compassion, His expectations of the characters or traits He would like to see and be built in us.

I am little skeptical when people say, "God told me to tell you this" kind or "God told me that I would be so and so". Or even worse "God told me that she is the girl I should marry"...

I still believe that there were men and women of God who were used tremendously by God and God did directly speak to them to edify His children. Some of such men and women of God who readily comes to my mind are Kathryn Kuhlman and Smith Wigglesworth. We can never say that these people simply stated as God told them. Like a tree that is known by its fruit, these people of God were known by their fruits in their character and service they did for the community.

There are still men and women of God today who are blessed with prophetic ministry to edify the Church. However, they will not be telling us stuff like"You will be going to US" or "You will be blessed with a son" kind of prophecies. These people are true and will give prophecies of hope and awakening. They are of rare kind and if we are smart enough, we can identify between the authentic and those who fake...

Coming back to where I left...In my perception, people get into a wrong perception that God is telling them something and that is the reason they give for their actions, deeds and choices. However, we get to see that their actions or words are not authentic. Again I am not judging that they are faking. But they have a misconception because they fail to rationalize with the facts or the truth considering whether it is human enough to do so or will God be please with my action or deed? I call this self-deception. We can deceive ourselves by believing something as true. We will not come out of it unless we are open to our own beliefs and perceptions, lay it bare and evaluate them with facts and the truth. I am able to say this because I have been through self-deception.

After having accepted Christ, I was in search of my life's destiny and I wanted to realize and establish my identity. At different stages of my life, I presumed that God wanted me to become somebody which I never became. For instance, I initially wanted to be a counselor, then a youth worker and then as a person who laid hands on the sick and prayed and also shared God's word. At different times it was different roles. However, none of these prevailed for long. I was successful in few attempts though, but I did not continue to build my identity and destination in any of these lines.

Finally, I realized that God uses the natural talents He blesses us with. I found my passion in writing and I have been writing since the last 5 yrs or even before that if I recollect. More than saying that God told me to become a writer, I prefer saying that I am blessed with this talent and I will use it as long as I find my passion and profession stuck to it by His grace. So I am out my "God told me" perception and I hope you too would ...

Responsibility...Whose Job is it Anyway?

One thing which I believe as the most essential thing we need to do in life as mature adults is to take responsibility. It is so easy to blame others, circumstances, situations, missed opportunities, ill luck or even the devil for life's mishap.

It is easy to say: "That lady is so cunning. She was behind this whole thing" and "That man always plays double game". "He didn't give me the freedom to do what I want". Again "They did not support us being Christians and so we made our own choices"...My response to such statements ...!?

I believe as mature adults we need to take responsibility for the choices we make, the way we react or behave and "for all that we say". And indeed for the "big decisions" we make which can change the course of our life. I was baffled when I once heard a believer in Christ state that a pastor fell into adultery because he was deceived by the devil.

My! When will people start taking responsibility for what they do. The devil cannot make you do something, unless you intend to do something evil or sinful or even make a self-destructive choice. The devil has no control over us...yet indeed if a person secretly craves to indulge in acts of sin or evil.

The second thing which annoys me when I get into a discussion of that kind (a believer falling into disgrace or sin) is when people tell me that I should pray for such folks because those people are deceived by the devil and are not aware of it. Again this sounds ridiculous for me...

The biggest gift that God has given mankind is common sense and conscience. I cannot agree to the  statement that a person falling into sin or cause disgrace is not aware of it and is being deceived. Each one of us with a sound mind have the discernment to make distinction between good and bad. Then why blame somebody else or the devil for what we do? When will we as adults learn to take responsibility?

Even if something negative has happened in our lives, a mature response would be. "Yes, this is my life, this is my situation, I own the responsibility. I can take the choice to make to it better or worse. I will stop blaming others or my situation. I can't expect others to make it good for me. I have to make informed choices for myself and I am responsible for the outcome too"...Well! that would sound more like maturity...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Perception Like Habbakkuk

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

I wish I could say like Habakkuk. It is so easy to fall into despair when disappointment follows disappointment and life is nothing but a trail of disappointments. When I read the book of Habakkuk, I could see that the prophet was full of complaints and murmurings. His tone was that of righteous anger, frustration, mumbling and despair. However, having said all this and having argued and wrestled with God, Habakukk is finally able make a bold confession to God and himself.

Wow! That shows a quite confidence in the God he worshiped. Habakkuk knew his God well. He knew that God was a God of righteousness, justice, love and compassion. The inward struggle that Habakkuk had was because of God's silence.

It is sometimes difficult to understand God's silence and delays. It is may seem mysterious and overwhelming to an agonized soul. But the assurance that God is in control and He will not allow things unless it would serve a purpose, will help us in having a perception like Habakkuk.

If Habbakkuk's perception should become ours, we need to repeatedly internalize the above scripture (say it again and again in our minds) so that we are accustomed to have our view changed.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Perception at Risk

Believers in Christ are taught to pray to God for their need without ceasing, claim promises and do their best to achieve their goals. I believe it is right. However, many of us would feel tired if the wait is long. The need may be anything and it may be genuine.

As human beings we have an earnestness for the need to be fulfilled very soon. But when the waiting is long it may seem as if God did not care. It is natural to feel that way. Even feelings of disappointment, frustration and anger may erupt and it may make us doubt the goodness of God. In such situations what do we do especially when we feel helpless and the need remaining unanswered?

Well we may be trying different ways for our need to be met. The most important thing here is, in all our trials and efforts our perception of God always poses a threat. Do we tend to perceive God as caring and loving if our need for long remains unmet? We may wonder if God is so loving and caring then why doesn't He answer my prayer? Why this long wait? Does God delight in keeping me wait? Why is God silent?

I guess many believers in God may be plagued with this question in their minds, knowingly or unknowingly and perception of God becomes a threat during those times. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb 13:8). He will never change even if we may change or our perception of Him changes.

I have been in situations such as these and my perception of God has posed great threats. I have shared my disappointments, frustrations and anger with God for I believe that it is not wrong to do so. The Psalmists did the same. However, in conclusion I do not allow my perception of God change. I submit to His will and abandon my need saying "When He knows how to care for the flowers in the wild and feed the sparrows, so will He know how to meet my need". Though I may not have answers for my anxiety right now, He does know the reason why the wait and I believe that is enough...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Perception Shapes Attitude...

Yesterday I wrote a blog post on how perception really matters, the way we look at ourselves, others and the world. Perception also matters the way we see relationships, our goals, priorities, work and our choices. But more than all this our perception shapes our attitude.

If I perceive hard work as an essential part of my life, then my attitude is to give my best in what I do. If I perceive hard work doesn't pay then my attitude towards work is: Work Less Earn More. I may tend to do my work on the surface and may not be giving the best of my ability.

Most of our perception and attitude has been developed in us for years due to our experiential learning (what we have learned from our experience) and some of them due to genetically inherited traits. One may wonder if we can ever inherit our perception or attitude from our parents, grandparents or blood related uncles or aunts. Yes, we do.

We would have seen that a child would have inherited some behaviors or habits from his/her uncle/aunt or even grandparents (Genes do play a role). The better example would be that of a child who would have inherited a personality trait of being silent or being hot tempered from his/her father. We may say, "She is exactly like her dad".

A surprising thing which I witness myself is my daughter's inherited trait of humor or wit from her grandmother whom my daughter has never seen.

Coming back to what I was saying. We do inherit perceptions and attitudes from our blood related family members and a majority of them due to experiential learning. However, a significant part of our perception and attitude is shaped from the things we learn by observing or focusing. And it depends on whom or what we observe and focus...

I have seen husbands or wives having inherited a few traits from their spouse. For instance some of the language or vocabulary use that runs in the family. I believe we need to become aware of what or whom we are observing and focusing on a consistent basis. Because it has the power to shape our perception and therefrom attitudes.

I believe that a majority of believers in Christ want to be like Him. And many times we find that we fail to be like Him. The reason why we may fail is that we may earnestly pray saying "Lord, make me like you", but perhaps we are taking less time to evaluate and change our perception and attitudes according to the Bible. The Word of God has immense scriptures on how we can change our perception and attitude like that of Christ. If you are really eager to know which ones are they...continue to check back here, we have more to discuss...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Perception Matters...

I always respect people for who they are. I do my best to be non-judgmental. Sometimes if I had criticized or judged someone, I would later correct myself saying that I don't have any right to comment on other's choices and decisions.

As human beings we do have a weakness to find fault with others rather than look onto ourselves. However, I am quick in correcting myself and change my perception therefrom. I believe that perception counts a lot in the way we look at ourselves and others.

I am sure none of us will have a bad or wrong perception of the self. But when it comes to our perception of others, we are quick to find fault. If we can only see that each individual as a person is capable of making decisions and choices that best fits them, then I guess we will be less judgmental and will not be bothered by others decisions and choices.

Unless others decisions or choices does not affect me directly, I choose to remain secluded and not respond. However, when others decisions, choices, behavior and communications do affect us by having a direct impact on our personal or professional life, then we tend to respond with anger and accusation.The better way  to respond in my perception would be to talk it out to the concerned person if possible. Otherwise it is ideal not to react to the concerned individual and share it with someone trustworthy.

I always choose to share my concerns with God and leave the matter with Him believing that my God not only teaches me the path of righteousness and justice but will also do the needful for me when I am wronged. So in a way I still choose not to judge and criticize people who have wronged me. I am aware that this is a tough thing to do, but I have learned to do so because this helps me to be in peace.

I know who I am and what others think of me really doesn't matter. However, this attitude of mine doesn't make me look at others with contempt. I am not plagued with a superior ego or with an inferior self-identity. And hence I look at others the same way (with respect). However, I don't stand when people display pride, arrogance, hypocrisy and contempt. But again I choose to keep off from such people so that I neither become judgmental nor choose to confront them for their conduct.


When I first came to you Lord,

The very thing that touched me was your "Unconditional Love".

All these years, you have only showed me,

How to be a good human...

I learned what it means to love purely, accept non-judgmentally and live without prejudice,

I learned to accept, respect and empathize with others.

I choose to live by your way- of righteousness, justice and peace,

A life of hard work and selfless giving.

I have learnt the cost of the carrying the cross,

And not to wander behind the crown.

I have been made known that riches is

And fame a mere vanity.

By seeing you, I learn everyday,

How to be like you...

In my talk, walk and the way I am,

And in everything that I do.

I choose to be open to you,

So that I can correct my mistakes,

And learn from you,

Not causing you shame.

Help me dear Lord learn from you,

Not in fancy prayers,

Without any change,

But truly and through you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blessings All the Way...

I see that most of the believers in Christ are plagued with the blessings syndrome. One thing which takes me off the hook is a message on "Blessings". Is living in Christ...centered only around blessings? Isn't life much more than that?

I always wished that I heard sermons on living righteous, Christ like maturity and poise, the true meaning of charity (selfless giving to the really needy), sacrifice, internal change and stuff like that. I have recently seen and heard of people not in the Lord indulging in selfless charity and sacrificial living and have wondered "Shouldn't this be more of an attribute of those who claim themselves to be in Christ?" Where are we really heading to...?

Either we will hear/find messages on blessings or it will be on prophecies. And these prophesies are mostly on catastrophic or promising events or unrealistically glorious future.People plagued with blessings syndrome are hooked onto the receiving mode and not the giving mode. But I am sure most of us know that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

Again I see that there is a misconception among people when it comes to giving. Giving is seen merely in terms of monetary aspect. I have seen people giving more towards already flourishing ministries and churches than to the genuinely needy.

The next thing people usually think after blessings is either good works or evangelism. Good works is seen as an reciprocal thing we need to do for the blessings we receive. I hope we are not intending to indulge in a barter system with God. Good works is seldom seen as a natural trait  of a human being (especially Christ's followers, the best example being people during the time of Acts). It has to come naturally in everyday aspect of life.

In my perception first we need to come out of the blessings syndrome. Second,  the context of giving selflessly, good works and evangelism needs more clarity. Giving need not always be in monetary terms. Giving can be in terms of time, a listening ear, displaying empathy and a little compassion  to the socially disadvantaged groups (people suffering from mental disorders/illness, transgender group, victims of abuse, HIV/AIDS sufferers etc).

Good works and charity can be displayed by reaching out to the totally disadvantaged groups in the society or even by showing a genuine care and give a listening ear to those who are hurt or neglected. And again I really don't believe in jumping into an evangelical mode when it comes to giving time to people. It is more than enough if we can be a good listener, show love, acceptance and respect and be non-judgmental.

When it comes to sharing the gospel, I believe that people should be drawn to know the Lord by the life that I live, my character, speech, behavior, personality, attitude, perception, etc. People should be able to see in me a difference, and be curious to find the reason behind it. One thing I am very clear about is that unless my life and I as a human being cannot portray Christ likeness, no one is going to be impacted by the gospel I preach.

Our life is an open book which people are able to read silently. Each individual's  character, attitude, perception, actions and deeds are being noticed, observed and understood by our verbal and non-verbal communications, decisions and choices made (including personal). Pride, arrogance, self-righteousness, selfishness, manipulations, deception, playing double games, politics, bragging, backbiting, gossip and slandering are quite naturally noticable and these traits cannot be masked easily. Genuineness is something noticeable and so is facade.

If people see that we are good preachers but do not practice what we preach, then we are bad examples of the gospel we preach. And so the gospel will become void for people who see us. The gospel has never been or is never void but can been made so by those who preach without practicing it. Our planet is filled with a vast majority of people who are good preachers but not practitioners of the gospel.

Without Christ-likeness it is impossible to preach the gospel and if people continue to preach the gospel without Christ-likeness, I believe it might only be ruining His name instead of glorifying it...I only hope that people would stop using blessings as a bait to bring people to Christ...and more than preaching the gospel, it is living the gospel which should top the priority list of those who claim to follow Him...

Or should I say that the 'Body of Christ' which should actually be representing the Master be flooded with preachers, teachers, and believers who will not be plagued with Blessings or Evangelism Syndrome but who are ready to clean up the Body of Christ uncompromisingly?...In my perception it is not the world that needs the Savior, but the 'Body of Christ' which needs a Savior, so that we don't misrepresent the gospel that is supposed to be saving the world...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I am Who I am...

This new blog which I am starting today is more of a personal narration. The purpose of this blog is to share my views and perception about life, faith and everything relative to it. I am no preacher, but definitely I am a writer which I believe is by His grace.

In this blog I may share positive attributes of my faith and some negative aspects of Christianity which may sound a little skeptical to some people. However, I would like to acknowledge that this is wholly my perspective and in no way am I offending anybody's view or perception.

To begin with, I would like to brief a little about my faith and my perception of it. I don't want to tag myself as "a Christian" or "a believer". In simplest terms I would like to describe myself as a person in whose life "Jesus Christ" has made (and still making) all the difference...

My personal goal in life is this...

I want to be crucified with Christ so that it is no longer I live but Christ lives in me. And this life which I live in my body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me still (as I believe from His Word) and gave Himself for me (paraphrasing Galatians 2:20)

The very reason why I don't want to carry a tag as a believer or a Christian, is that there are so many people in this world who carry a tag but they seldom live a life worthy of the tag. So I chose to refrain having tags as such. Besides, I do not believe in preaching the gospel but believe in living the gospel to my best possible awareness and strength. I know it is a challenge but that challenge is no excuse for not living a life worthy of the grace due to which we say we are saved. I believe it is possible to live the gospel by His strength.

When I accepted the Lord16 years before, I was sure of the purpose of the One I was going to follow and the outcome therefrom. I knew that the very purpose of being chosen by God was to make me (and us) more like that of His Son Jesus. Rom 8:28-29 (NIV) [28.... who have been called according to his purpose.29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son]

For me blessings has never been an attraction element for choosing Christ. When I chose Him, I knew that He could make a better person...I know that He would help me grow up and be more like Him. I was sure that He would be able to instill His attributes and His personality in me (as long as I chose to yield to Him). As far as blessings is concerned I see it as an outcome of the relationship, the Lord has with me. When an earthly father knows to give the best to his children, how much more a heavenly Father?

I really don't think, I need to nag, be adamant and claim my blessings. Am I sounding like a saint here?Well, I am not one. I do ask my heavenly Father for my needs. I do share my disappointments, anxieties and frustrations that I face in life with Him. But I don't see that I need to be too concentrated on my needs or blessings which will make me look like a immature child.

To be honest, I was like that before...nagging, pestering or even demanding towards God. But I realized that I don't need to be. I need to grow up, know my Father well, and rest in Him believing that He will do His best for me. As a mother, when I know how to take care of my child's needs, I believe He knows much more than I do...He is aware of my sincere longings. He knows my heart's ache. He is able to empathize and I believe He will do the needful...

I have much more to say...but to begin with I am starting faith. If anyone wants to comment on this blog, you are invited to do so...positive, negative, anything...I assure you it will not put me down...See you later...