“She is dark!”, “How did this handsone man agree to marry this fat lady?” “He has a tummy and looks old”
Are these phrases familiar? Like me, I am sure you would have heard such comments from the society. As Christians, is it acceptable to comment on external appearances?
Beauty seems to be the measure of social acceptance. People crave for beauty inorder to be accepted. The humpty number of photograph editing softwares prove the same. The sprouting of beauty products, salons wnd their advertisements on the media would advocate for this truth.
Beauty is a temporary quality that would change. God judges us based on our inner beauty instead of external appearances. Proverbs 31: 30 says, beauty is vain; fear for God is to be praised. Human eyes envisages external appearances. On the contrary, spiritual eyes would prompt to envisage the inner beauty.
“Fear of God is a better choice that fleeting beauty”
The right to be called as an heir runs in the genealogy of families. Other than being related by blood heirship can be acquired too. Heir can be adopted or nominated under the law of the land.
What is the rule to qualify as a heirs of this heavenly land? Matthew 5:44-45a, explains this context. Those who love their enemies qualify as heavenly heirs. Those who bless those who curse them qualify as heavenly heirs. Those who do good to evil doers qualify as heavenly heirs. Those who prayer for their persecutors qualify for heavenly heirs.
Acquisition of heavenly heirship might sound difficult yet with the love of Christ it is possible. Love your enemies because love is not easily angered. (I Cor 13:5) Bless those who curse you because love is not self seeking. (I Cor 13:5) Do good to evil doers because love does not keep a record of wrongs. (I Cor 13:5) Pray for your persecutors because love is patient. (I Cor 13:4) Hence we are called the practice the qualities of heavenly heirs and qualify to be called as the children of the Father in heaven.
Show Christ like love to qualify for heavenly heirship
We ask for many things. At times during prayer our petitions outweighs our praises. We ask for luxury, comfort, money, riches for our kith and kin.
Does the title of this blog sound weird to you? Why would one not ask for prosperity?
In the book of Proverbs, I found a different prayer. Proverbs 30:8 says, ‘give me neither poverty nor riches’. I agree if people pray that Lord keep poverty away from me, but why prosperity too?
The reason behind it is so practical. The author explains that both poverty and prosperity would breech him from God. If in poverty, one might despise or blasphemy against God due to his burden. Our inabilities could cripple us from walking in Godly ways. This is absolutely true and practically possible. Because it is difficult to hold on to God during a scarcity. On the contrary, luxury can carry you away from God. Amist prosperity one could forget to revere God. (Pro 30:9)
Hence, the author prays this one line prayer. It sounded complete, moreover like an one stop shop flash prayer. Probably we can memorize this and use it several times during our day. This prayer is found in Pro 30:8, ‘feed me with food convenient for me’. This same verse in the Bible of my mother tongue is framed to give the following meaning, ‘Lord grant me just what is enough for me’. I have started to practise this prayer, hope the same with you.
We thank a lot of people during of daily activities. We migth thank the waiter for his prompt service or the maid for her loyality or the driver for his safe driving. Let’s ponder. What is it required for us to pronounce the words ‘thanks’? There are instances when we haven’t pronounced a thankful note.
The difference is that we would not have been satisfied with their work or service. It is the satisfaction that instigates this thanks.
Similarly, when we have to thank our God for His goodness we first need to be contented about His ways. Only when we nurture contentment we will be able to give thanks and praise God for His marvelous ways. A discontented heart can never pronounce true thanksgiving. Contentment is essential for your heart to overflow with thanks.
Contentment is the ability to be happy with what you have and not wanting for more. Contented people say yes for an essential need but will say no for a luxurious want. The Bible in 1 Timothy 6:6 we read contentment with godliness is great gain.
In this era of technology and development which can bring anything and everything to your doorstep, is it really possible to be contented?
Competitive and attractive offers displayed on malls, shopping complexes, malls rip us from our contentment. If think we would have sometime or other entangled in this offer craze. When we have to buy one these offers tempt us to buy two in order to get the third one free.
Contentment is the ability to feel complete with what you have. Peoples measure of completeness varies. For example, take mode of transport wherein a person might be happy if he manages to own a two wheeler while there are others who are not satisfied with a four wheeler too.
Contentment is necessary to appreciate what you have and be happy about it. Contentment is necessary for us to give to others. So, I would suggest a simple test for contentment. If you are happy and willing to give to others then your life is contented. We are called to test our life for contentment. If not change ourselves for greater gain.
A contented life has happiness and is willing to share
Hope is the feeling of trust. Synonyms could be expectation, anticipation, dream, desire or wish. Hope is essential for simple to composite things. Hope could be inherent while some struggle to believe. Hope could be borrowed from people who believe. Hope could be intertwined to promises such as legal bonds. Hope could sometimes be unrealistic or unreal too. All these characteristics of hope fail with time. Inborn hope or borrowed hope can dwindle. Hope on agreements or unrealistic dreams will fail.
When hope matures it clears the test of time. This mature hope doesn’t look for immediate outcomes but believes in God’s plan for him/her. In mature hope, believing in God’s plan is worthwhile regardless of how things turn out to be.
The Book of Romans, solicits each Christian to be joyful in hope. Mature hope is a choice. Mature hope with joy is an effort. Yet they are worth the choice and the effort because joy soothes the sweat of the waiting period. Mature hope on naïve, worldly people is scary but on Christ is never a failure.
Joyful in hope is worth the effort to wait for God’s time.
Decision is a conclusion resolved after detailed consideration of all possible alternatives. In this era of psychological development, decision making is considered an expertise. From childhood we are exposed to situations that help us acquire this skill. We are triggered to decide and choose when an uncle asks you pick one flavor of ice cream.Decisions could be positive or negative. A positive decision is the resolution to hold on to something like praying regularly. A negative decision is the determination to refrain from something such as a bad habit.
Decisions be it negative or positive, they are mutually exclusive.You like it or not, during a decision you weigh a choice over it’s alternatives. Most things in life doesn’t happen the way we decide since God’s decision is ultimate. When God’s decision happens in our lives our decisions fail to happen. Even though accepting God’s decision is not easy but I am sure that it is always the best decision.
“God’s decision at times excludes our decision to establish His eternal decision”
Probability is the chance of an event to occur or not. Science believes in probability. We toss a coin to choose which team bats first. Most board games revolve around probability of a dice. We cast lots to choose a lucky winners.Similar incidents have be mentioned in the Bible. The people in the ship cast lots to identify Noah as the reason behind God’s wrath expressed are a deadly storm. The soldiers cast lots to lay hands on the clothes of Jesus after His crucifixion. Mathias was selected over Barsabbas as the twelfth disciple in place of Judas by lots.
Does probability actually depicts chance? Do things happen by chance in our lives?
Pro 16:33 mentions, “The lots is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord”.
Yeah, probability exists but it is under the control of our Almighty Creator. Most things that we think happen by chance in our life are knitted together by God. Each person you meet and every need that you see have been fixed in place by God. The beggar whom you saw and the colleague who needed your support didn’t happen in your life by chance. God has tied them to your life in order to enrich their life through you.
I am not advocating that casting lots is a way to know God’s decision. But the gist is that, our God knows the probability of a lot or coin or dice or incident before we know it. Our Sovereign God has dominion over all probability and does not allow chance to handle your life. God has planned intricately each one of our lives rather than believing in probability. So as Christians we are called to reflect now and then to find the meaning and the reason why God brings different people such as your neighbor, driver, maid etc into your life. Ask God to help you realize the way you can help them.
Hannah was the beloved wife of Elkannah. Yet God had closed her womb. Her family had gone to Shiloh to offer yearly sacrifices. She took time to pour her heart to God about the grief she was undergoing.(1 Samuel 1:10-11) Most preachings on Hannah’s prayer would encircle around this prayer. There is another prayer which Hannah prayed after she fulfilled her promise with God. (1 Samuel 2:1-10). This prayer of thanksgiving is so different and caught my attention.
This is when she leaves Samuel with Eli in the temple. This is no lesser than today’s good byes on account of studies, work and commitment and so on. Each one of us would have experienced such a situation in life. Have you ever seen a parent especially the mother pronounce a goodbye without tears. I haven’t! Most cases it is a blue occasion. Hannah’s prayer dint reveal her sorrow at all.
Hannah rejoices and boosts in the Lord for He has delivered her from her enemies. She glorifies God her rock for His holiness. She thanks God for the answered supplications. Her prayer depicts how God transforms the situation of people who pray. She also acknowledges the fate of those who oppose God. More or less this was a prayer of praising, thanking, adoring and acknowledging God’s ways in her life.
“Prayer provides perception to acknowledge His ways”
Now, when you have to listen to the seventh song of an album you pick it on your phone’s music player and play it instantly. In that time and age when digital media was not available, playing your favourite song is attainable only with this fast forward button. Those who have used a tape recorder to listen to songs would agree. I was imagining if our life had this fast forward button, how would things turn out to be?
Each time we take a decision, we could fast forward to visualize the aftermath of each decision or even the other options for the same decision. Decisions affects ones eternal life and the present life of people around. A roamer, an offensive word, an unjust decision, an illicit deeds could make life difficult for others. Most misunderstandings in the family, politics in churches, disorderly fellowships sprout out from these above mentioned acts. These could be nipped early when we think of the consequences of them.
The Bible implores us to be devoted to one another and also live at peace with everyone. When each Christian uses this fast forward button before every decision, families will overflow with love, churches would overflow with believers and fellowships would overflow with spiritual gifts.
“Would there be a fast forward button – families, churches and fellowships would overflow in love and peace”